It's getting really hard to keep track of which British celebrities have and haven't been hacked by News of the World. Monday afternoon's swirl of reports that pulled the Queen and the former Prime Minister onto the long list of phone hacking victims reminded us of that too-dark parking garage scene in All the President's Men. "In a conspiracy like this," Deep Throat says to Bob Woodward. "You build from the outer edges, and you go step by step. If you shoot too high and miss, everybody feels more secure." But, Deep Throat seems to say, assume that everybody is involved. The phone hacking scandal is like this, plus a mirror image: not only is the investigation seeming likely to reach higher and higher within the News Corp. empire, finding out who might have been involved--the victims' list is soaring into the social stratosphere as well.
On Monday, The Guardian reported that police have warned Buckingham Palace about new evidence of News of the World targeting members of the royal family:
The revelation comes as the BBC disclosed that the emails which News International handed to Scotland Yard in June include evidence that the paper had paid bribes to a royal protection officer in order to obtain private phone numbers for the royal household.
It is believed that personal phone details for Prince Charles and Camilla have been found among the 11,000 pages of handwritten notes that were kept by Mulcaire and which were seized by the original Scotland Yard inquiry in August 2006.
The palace source said: "The question that has to be answered is: if somebody had access to this evidence back then, why didn't they do something about it?"
It goes a rung higher. The Evening Standard cites unnamed sources to report that "personal details about the Queen and her closest aides were sold to News of the World by royal protection offices." These details, if true, directs further suspicion towards the newspaper's former editor Andy Coulson and royal editor Clive Goodman, both of whom were arrested and questioned by the police on Friday:
The information included phone numbers and tips about the movements and activities of the Queen, Prince Philip and staff in a serious breach of national security. The payments, and involvement of the royal and diplomatic protection squad, were uncovered by News International in 2007.
But despite the potential risk to security they were not passed on to the Met until last month. Scotland Yard was only informed after other News International bosses discovered the existence of the emails during a separate internal probe set up to uncover evidence of phone hacking.