London: A letter from former News of the World reporter Clive Goodman obtained by the Guardian says that phone hacking was widely discussed and expressly endorsed by senior journalists at the now-defunct tabloid.
The newspaper said Tuesday that the letter — written by Goodman four years ago after he was released from prison — claimed that the illegal eavesdropping was carried out with "the full knowledge and support" of the paper`s leadership.
The claim is particularly damning because the News of the World and its parent company, News International, had long insisted that Goodman — who was fired, convicted and jailed for his role in the scandal — was the only reporter involved in intercepting voicemail messages.
Goodman`s letter, addressed to News International`s director of human resources Daniel Cloke and dated March 2, 2007, argues that he should never have been fired because he was acting with the backing of senior journalists.
Goodman also claims that other staff at the News of the World were hacking phones, adding that "this practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor." The Guardian said the names of those involved have been removed from the letter by the police, who are investigating.
The Guardian said that the letter is among a batch of documents due to be published by the House of Commons` culture, media and sport committee.