News of the World hacked phones of 5 senior police investigators. The message? “Back OFF, flatfoot!”

July 11, 2011
British Tabloid Targeted Investigators’ Phone Data

LONDON — Shortly after Scotland Yard began its initial criminal inquiry of phone hacking by The News of the World in 2006, five senior police investigators discovered that their own mobile phone messages had been targeted by the tabloid and had most likely been listened to.

The disclosure, based on interviews with former and current officials knowledgeable about the investigation, raises the question of whether senior criminal investigators had concerns that if they aggressively investigated The News of the World, they would be punished with splashy stories about their secrets, some of which were tabloid-ready.

As it turned out, several damaging allegations about two of the senior officers’ private lives were later revealed by other news outlets — charges that one had padded his expense reports and was involved in extramarital affairs and that the other used frequent flier miles accrued on the job for personal vacations.

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