Rupert Murdoch has admitted to the Leveson inquiry there was a "cover-up" at News International over the phone-hacking scandal.
Murdoch, the News Corp chairman and chief executive, giving his second day of evidence to the inquiry in London on Thursday morning, said he was "misinformed and shielded" from what was going on at the News of the World, adding that there was a "cover-up".
Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, said there had been a consistent theme of cover-up during the phone-hacking scandal, and asked Murdoch where he thought this emanated from. "I think from within the News of the World," he replied.
Murdoch said there were "one or two very strong characters" on the now defunct Sunday paper who, according to reported statements, had forbidden people from talking to Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch, at the time News International chief executive and chairman respectively.
Murdoch said a News of the World editor was appointed – referring to Colin Myler, although he did not name him at this point – "with specific instructions to find out what was going on". "He did, I believe, put in two or three new steps of regulation but never reported back that there was more hacking than we had been told."
Myler was appointed in January 2007, after the News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire admitted phone hacking and went to prison. His predecessor, Andy Coulson, denied any knowledge of phone hacking but resigned, saying he took responsibilty for what happened.
Murdoch told the inquiry Myler "would not have been my choice", that he was the choice of Les Hinton, who at the time was News International's executive chairman. He said he thought at the time there were stronger candidates from News International sister title the Sun.
Jay then asked if Myler was a weak individual and wrong man for the job. "I would say that was a slight exaggeration," replied Murdoch. "I would hope Mr Myler would do what he was commissioned to do."
Myler has yet to respond to the latest allegations.
I am sure he will get his chance before the Leveson inquiry.
And as usual, we have another "accountability" guy in Murdoch who refuses to be held accountable himself.
UPDATE: I should note that hacking took place at The Sun, the Times, and the partially Murdoch-owned Sky News - hard to see how Colin Myler and other News of the World "characters" were involved with that.
I can believe Myler and other NOTW execs didn't tell the extent of the hacking for fear that the paper might be closed if the extent was known.
In other words, I can believe they tried to cover things up - or at least minimize the damage.
But I cannot believe that Rupert Murdoch, the man who runs News Corporation, is not responsible for the hacking, piracy, bribery, corruption and criminal behavior that is now being exposed throughout his media empire.
The guys at the top set the tone for what happens below.