British Journalist Arrested in Hacking Probe
A newsstand opposite Paddington Station in London, February 2005.
CREDIT: Public domain
A former Times of London reporter has been taken into police custody for allegedly hacking the email account of the clandestine "NightJack" blogger.
The 28-year-old journalist, Patrick Foster, was taken from his London home this morning (Aug. 29) by British authorities who are investigating a 2009 incident in which former anonymous police blogger Richard Horton's email account was hacked.
that Foster is the 11th person to be arrested for Operation Tuleta, a Metropolitan Police investigation into breaches of privacy.
In order to reveal the blogger's identity, The Times of London fought to overturn an injunction, arguing that the information had been obtained legally and that reporting the information was in the public interest.
Earlier this year, however, the Leveson inquiry, established to examine journalistic ethics after the News International phone hacking scandal, learned some troubling details. Foster did not discover Horton's identity through legitimate journalistic means, but instead by illegally hacking into Horton's email account. (News International is the British subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.)
But Foster is not the only culprit in this story.
In a written statement to the Leveson inquiry, Foster's former boss, Times editor James Harding, admitted that top brass at the paper knew the information had been obtained illegally before they sought to beat the injunction.
“When the reporter informed his managers that in the course of his investigation he had, on his own initiative, sought unauthorised access to an email account, he was told that if he wanted to pursue the story, he had to use legitimate means to do so," Harding wrote.
Harding also issued an apology for his role in the incident.
Earlier this year, Horton said he would sue The Times for damages with the help of lawyer Mark Ewish, the same attorney representing victims whose phones were allegedly hacked by News of the World reporters.
The award-winning blog, which amounted to a cynical diary, detailing Horton's days as a police officer, was taken down shortly after The Times outed him to the public. Before it's undoing, NightJack had been a popular and celebrated blog among advocates of police transparency.