The shocking finding by a British Parliamentary committee investigating controversial voicemail interceptions by staff at the former News Corp. tabloid unanimously concluded that in 2009 Myler “falsely” said the hacking was limited to a single rogue reporter.
“This was not true and ... they would have known this was untrue when they made those statements,” the committee said in its final report, issued yesterday.
Myler, who was hired as top editor of the Mort Zuckerman-owned New York Daily News in January, held the same position at the UK-based News of the World from 2007 until News Corp. closed it last July. (News Corp. owns The Post.)
In a statement, Myler said he stands by the evidence he gave the committee.
“I have always sought to be accurate and consistent in what I have said to the committee,” said Myler, who was once the executive editor of The Post, which he joined in 2001. He left in 2007.
The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said it was also misled by Les Hinton, a former exec of News Corp.’s UK division, and Tom Crone, former legal manager at the same division.
Hinton, they said, misled the committee about payments made to Clive Goodman, the former NOTW royal editor who was arrested in 2007 for intercepting phone messages of the British royal family.
Crone and Hinton also denied the committee’s conclusions, with Hinton calling the findings “unfounded, unfair and erroneous.”
“I am shocked and disappointed by the [committee’s] allegations that I have misled Parliament and was ‘complicit’ in a cover-up,” Hinton said in a statement. “I refute these accusations utterly.”
The report also dealt a blow to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, and concluded that he “turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness” to widespread wrongdoing at the tabloid. As a result, Murdoch is “not a fit person” to lead a global corporation, the report said.
Murdoch apologized in a statement for “not rectifying the situation sooner.
“There is no easy way around this, but I am proud to say that we have been working hard to put things right,” he said.
The 10-member committee was split along party lines in its verdict on Murdoch — with Labour and Liberal Democrat members of the body voting for the “unfit” language and Conservatives voting against it.
In a press conference yesterday, Conservative Member of Parliament Louise Mensch said she and her fellow party members felt the language deeming Murdoch unfit was “widely outside the scope” of the committee’s mission and part of “an improper attempt to influence Ofcom [the British telecom regulator].”
The report also slammed James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and former head of News Corp. ‘s UK division, News International, accusing him of “wilful ignorance” and a “lack of curiosity.”
In a statement, News Corp. promised sweeping reforms.
“We have already confronted and have acted on the failing documented in the report: we have conducted internal reviews of operations at newspapers in the UK and indeed around the world, far beyond anything asked of us by the [London] Metropolitan Police; we have volunteered any evidence of apparent wrongdoing by the authorities; and we have instituted sweeping changes in our internal controls and our compliance programs on a worldwide basis, to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again anywhere at News Corp.”
News Corp., Colin Myler, Rupert Murdoch, Daily News, New York Daily News, James Murdoch, Les Hinton, UK, UK