A report from The Guardian claims that detectives working for Rupert Murdoch’s News International may have siphoned off classified intelligence documents from MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency.
The report comes some six months after the first reports indicating that computer hacking, along with voice mail hacking, may have been among the tools used by Murdoch’s papers to gather confidential information from celebrities, government officials and persons of interest.
The latest revelations spring from “Operation Tuleta,” a Scotland Yard investigation into phone hacking by News of the World reporters and operatives. That investigation had earlier uncovered evidence that private detectives and a firm of “ethical hackers” was hired by News International to investigate targets using “offensive” hacking techniques such as installing Trojan horse programs on a computer belonging to Kevin Fulton, who was believed to have been a British agent working within the IRA. Information gathered from Fulton’s computer was eventually passed on to News International’s Dublin, Ireland bureau, the Telegraph reported.
In the latest development, a Guardian report on Monday alleges that the Metropolitan Police have uncovered evidence that suggests the computer of former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, as well as those of MI5 intelligence agents and senior Northern Ireland civil servants may have been hacked into and sensitive intelligence compromised. Ian Hurst, a former British army intelligence agent stationed in Northern Ireland has testified this week for a high profile government inquiry into press standards. Hurst said BBC reporters had shown him a six page fax, reportedly sent to News International’s News of the World, that contained information pilfered from his computer. The information had reportedly been gathered by private detectives working for News International using Trojan horse programs emailed to targets.
Scotland Yard and News International declined to comment on the allegations.