In the Media

Phone hacking: Home Office briefed in 2006

PUBLISHED March 5, 2012

Police prepared one document for Dr Reid and the second was written by the private secretary to the Home Office's permanent secretary, the hearing was told.

Neil Garnham QC, counsel for the Metropolitan Police, said both briefing notes were dated August 9 2006, the day after officers swooped on Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Former Scotland Yard anti-terror chief Peter Clarke - who oversaw the 2006 News of the World investigation, known as Operation Caryatid - gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday about how Dr Reid was kept informed.

He was asked whether his discussion with the then-home secretary made it clear that the range of phone-hacking victims was "far wider than the royal household" and that other journalists "might well" have been involved.

Mr Clarke replied: "I think it did. I don't remember the exact content of that discussion.

"I know that a briefing paper went from the Metropolitan Police to the Home Office, and that Dr Reid was aware of it and it was on the basis of that that he asked me some questions in the margins of another meeting, a meeting actually about the airlines terrorist plot."

But Dr Reid told The Guardian on Friday: "I can categorically say that I did not receive any briefing from the Met suggesting that there was widespread hacking including MPs and the deputy PM."

Mr Garnham said today that the police briefing paper for Dr Reid has now been provided to the Leveson Inquiry, and efforts are under way to find the internal Home Office document about the phone-hacking investigation.

The press standards inquiry is currently looking at relations between police and the press, and will next examine links between politicians and newspapers.

Chairman Lord Justice Leveson observed: "This is about the extent to which the police kept the Government informed about Caryatid ...

"It is obviously very important, not least because of the interplay between this part of the inquiry and the next part of the inquiry."