Gordon Brown had nothing good to say about News Corp. in a series of interviews on Tuesday morning. After news broke Monday that News Corp. journalists tried to access his voicemail and bank account, the former British prime minister reacted in an interview with the BBC and The Guardian. Condemning Rupert Murdoch's organization for making money "at the expense of ordinary people," Brown went into detail about his communcations with Rebekah Brooks, then editor of The Sun, his role in the 2007 investigations into News of the World and his reaction to recent revelations about the phone hacking scandal. News Corp. does "the most disgusting work," says Brown.
News Corp. hired criminals to investigate Brown's private life. The former prime minster knew about some of the invasive acts and says that the company used its connections with the "criminal underworld" to gain access:
I had my bank account broken into. I had my legal files effectively broken into. My tax returns went missing at one point. Medical records were broken into. I don't know how this happened.
I do know that in two instances, there is absolute proof that News International hired people to do this and the people who are doing this are criminals, known criminals in some cases with records of violence and fraud.
Brown asked Rebekah Brooks not to publish stories about his son's medical condition. The Sun ran the stories that Brown's son suffered from cystic fibrosis anyways. Asked how he responded to the betrayal, Brown said:
In tears. Your son is now going to be broadcast across the media. Sarah and I were incredibly upset about it. We were thinking about his longterm future. We were thinking about our family. But there's nothing that you can do about it. You're in public life. And this story appears. You don't know how it's appeared. I've not questioned how it's appeared. I've not made any allegations about how it's appeared. I've not made any claims about [how it appeared]. But the fact is it did appear. And it did appear in the Sun newspaper.
Brown wanted a deeper investigation into phone hacking as prime minister. Current Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a judicial probe, Brown says that should've happened years ago:
I came to the conclusion that the evidence was becoming so overwhelming about the underhand tactics of News International using these private investigators to trawl through people's lives, particularly the lives of people who were completely defenceless, I thought we had to have a judicial inquiry. We stood up to News International and refused to support their commercial ambitions when we thought they were against the public interest.
News Corp.'s trespasses bear broader implications. Brown says that he was targeted because his cabinet was tough on News Corp., and this sort of tactic is how they've been able to get away with bullying:
News International pursued an incredibly aggressive agenda in the last year. News International were distorting the news in a way that was designed to pursue a particular political cause. This was an abuse of their power for political gain.
The record will show that some people at News International abused their power. There is absolutely no doubt that News International were trying to influence policy. This is an issue about the abuse of political power as well as the abuse of civil liberties.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.