Guardian Assistant Editor, David Leigh, admitted to phone hacking

H/T Jonathan Sacerdoti

David Leigh


The Guardian’s coverage of the UK phone hacking scandal has saturated their pages.

They’ve devoted an extraordinary amount of space to the row regarding the illegal intrusion into private phone calls, which their editors have denounced as representing “a toxic influence over key areas of our civic life”.

The revelations have resulted in the arrest of several employees of Rupert Murdoch’s now defunct tabloid, News of the World, as well as other British journalists – a scandal which has been described as Murdochgate or Rupertgate and has resulted in an FBI investigation into the possible illegal activities of Murdoch’s News Corp in the U.S.

Inquiries initiated by British PM David Cameron led to several high-profile resignations, including Dow Jones chief executive Les Hinton; News International legal manager Tom Crone; and chief executive Rebekah Brooks. 

Today, per the Media Ethics blog of The Village Voice:

David Leigh, an assistant editor at the Guardianadmitted to hacking people’s voicemails in an article written in 2006 that just seems to have been dug up. Leigh listened to the messages of a “corrupt arms company executive,” and said his aim was to expose “bribery and corruption.” Interestingly, his paper was the one who broke the empire-burning News of the World hacking scandal in the first place.

Leigh (last seen engaging in highly questionable ethical behavior during the WikiLeaks scandal) said the following:

I, too, once listened to the mobile phone messages of a corrupt arms company executive – the crime similar to that for which Goodman now faces the prospect of jail. The trick was a simple one: the businessman in question had inadvertently left his pin code on a print-out and all that was needed was to dial straight into his voicemail.

Per the Village Voice post, the Guardian said that the paper “does not and has not authorised phone hacking.” 

In an email Q&A with readers, Rusbridger, in response to a question about what the Guardian’s rules are concerning phone hacking and similar “intrusions”, said:

“Any intrusion must be authorised at a sufficiently senior level and with appropriate oversight.”

So, the questions are:

Did Rusbridger authorise Leigh’s phone hacking? 

If not, when did Rusbridger find out that Leigh, a senior staffer – who, astonishingly, had been reporting on the phone hacking scandal for the Guardian as recently as July 22nd – was engaging in a possibly illegal act?

And, in light of the scandal, why hasn’t Leigh been asked to resign?

What did Rusbridger know and when did he know it?

Alan Rusbridger




18 replies »

  1. We always had this reasonable suspicion that the self righteous Guardian is one of those moralizing organizations that use questionable practices.Calling them Sanctimonious Hypocrites would be giving them a compliment…………

    • I’m shocked, shocked I tell you to learn that the neo-progressves (and I say neo-progressives because I always thought progressives supported women’s rights, gay rights, religious pluralism and such but the neo-progrressives have allied themselves with murderous, dictatorial Arab regimes and movements that oppose all this) are a bunch of hypocrites. I always thought they were pure of heart and perfect. I wonder if there will be any consequences?

      • I watched this play out and observed that few papers were going after Murdhoch knowing that they all had a hand in this scandal one way or the other.

        But the Guardian was the flag barer to this story. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        Then again I m not holding my breath that the media will pick this up the way it did the NOTW scandal.

  2. I’d like to say that I’m shocked too. But I’m not. Not at all.

    The Guardian is known for printing its own version of facts (Palileaks, yesterday’s Sam Bahou piece for example), so expecting high moral standards from them is a losing battle. In an atmosphere in which telephone & email hacking is the standard it would be odd indeed if they didn’t succumb as well.

  3. Before anyone here expires from a surfeit of triumphalism I’d just point out the moral (if not legal) distinction between hacking to expose corruption and the sort of thing the NotW was upto.

  4. When I read this article I wondered how long it would be before someone charged in waving ” the shield of justice and sword of truth” and trumpeting “public interest defence”.
    No doubt Mr. Leigh will demonstrate his moral courage and convictions, hold his hands up admit the offence, and serve his time in Pentonville.
    And, Oh look, there are pigs flying past my window!

    • In case you hadn’t noticed, Gerald, Mr Leigh admitted hacking in 2006. The test will be whether he now tries to deny it, as Piers Morgan is doing after earlier apparent admissions.

      • Miserable Clowns,and not funny ones either………….They talk about nepotism and they have Bella Mack Allan Rustbridgers daughter working for them,they beat the war drums against Murdoch,and here one of their very own is a miserable hacker…….A Guardian Assistant Editor no less…..What a bunch of wankers……..

  5. Well I never!

    The Guardian, so quick to point the finger at the News of the World, is up to its own neck in the doo doo!

    A lawyer friend of mine says that this sort of phone hacking and voice mail interception is not in the public interest at all and recommends that this b*gger be reported to the police.

    Any takers???

  6. PS to previous message: I see that Sir Paul McCartney has already done so….

    Oh frabjous day!!!!

  7. “Per the Village Voice post, the Guardian said that the paper ”does not and has not authorised phone hacking.” BUT

    “In an email Q&A with readers, Rusbridger, in response to a question about what the Guardian’s rules are concerning phone hacking and similar “intrusions”, said:

    “Any intrusion must be authorised at a sufficiently senior level and with appropriate oversight.”

    Question 1: When, according to the deluded ones who run the Guardian, is phone hacking not phone hacking?

    Answer 1: When a Guardian reporter does it.

    Question 2: When is a lie not a lie?

    Answer 2: When Rusbridger tells it.

    @Margie in Tel Aviv, with all respect, the Guardian probably led rather than “succumbed.”

    @Sencar, no triumphalism here, I think, just quiet satisfaction that the Guardian has show itself publicly to be hypocritical.

    See Snigger’s post. Even a deluded Guardianista or “journalist” cannot argue that this was in the public interest.

    • It’s called a public interest defence, and hacking into a corrupt arms dealers phone is in the public interest. There is a whole world of difference between that and hacking a girls phone who could well have been enduring an horrific death at the time.

      The UK press are legally obliged to transgress laws if it is defence of the public, it is all part of being the fourth estate. What they are not allowed to do is bribe police officers, corrupt politicians and interfere in murder investigations for the sake of making money.

      Do you see the difference?