CNN host Piers Morgan drawn into hacking scandal

Popular CNN host Piers Morgan`s name has been drawn into Britain`s media scandal with a former Mirror group journalist claiming that phone hacking was common at the Daily Mirror during the former`s time as its editor.

Updated: Jul 24, 2011, 21:11 PM IST

New York: Popular CNN host Piers Morgan`s
name has been drawn into Britain`s media scandal with a former
Mirror group journalist claiming that phone hacking was common
at the Daily Mirror during the former`s time as its editor.

Morgan, who now hosts the popular `Piers Morgan
tonight` was editor of the British newspaper The Daily Mirror
until 2004.

James Hipwell, a former employee of the paper who
worked under Morgan`s editorship, has claimed hacking into
celebrities phones in search for scoops was common at the
organisation though he was not particularly sure if Morgan
knew about it.

Rattled by the allegations, Morgan, a former judge on
British and American talent shows, denied he ever authorised
hacking.

"I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a
phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from
the hacking of a phone," Morgan told The New York Times.

"I am not aware, and have never seen evidence to
suggest otherwise, that any Mirror story published during my
tenure was obtained from phone hacking," he said.

Hipwell was fired from the Mirror in 2000 over a
scandal in which he was accused of buying shares before
tipping them in the paper. He was convicted of market
manipulation and served 59 days in jail.

"Piers was extremely hands-on as an editor... I can`t
say 100 per cent that he knew about it. But it was
inconceivable he didn`t," Hipwell had told The Independent.

A CNN spokeswoman told NYT that Morgan had been asked
about the accusations and "denied involvement in phone hacking
both publicly and privately".

Morgan has also faced hacking accusations from others
including British lawmakers.

Morgan was also the former editor of the now closed
News of the World, in 1994 and 1995.

"I left the News of the World in 1995, at least five
years before anyone has suggested phone hacking started at the
newspaper," he said, "and before cellphones were even in
widespread use in the UK".

PTI