LONDON — Scotland Yard’s arrest of a former personal assistant to Rebekah Brooks, a former chief executive of the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, appears to reflect the investigators’ intensifying focus on the possibility of a cover-up by executives, editors and others of the extent of illegal phone hacking and other criminal wrongdoing at the The News of the World, which is now defunct.
After 10 hours of questioning on Friday, detectives assigned to a special unit investigating the affair released the assistant, Cheryl Carter, 47, on police bail pending further questioning. She was arrested at dawn at her home in Billericay, 25 miles east of London. Efforts to reach her for comment on Saturday were not successful.
Scotland Yard said she was the 17th person, most of them former employees of the The News of the World, to be arrested by officers assigned to Operation Weeting, established last year under special provisions intended to ensure the independence of the investigators.
Ms. Carter’s arrest drew attention for several reasons, including a Scotland Yard statement that said that she had been questioned on suspicion of trying to pervert the course of justice, a line of inquiry that has not been specified in police statements on most of the other arrests in Operation Weeting.
In addition, Ms. Carter appeared to have had a close personal and professional relationship with Ms. Brooks, the most senior executive in the Murdoch hierarchy to have been arrested in the affair. Former News of the World employees who spoke on condition of anonymity said Ms. Carter had worked as a personal assistant to Ms. Brooks for 19 years, starting when Ms. Brooks was deputy editor of The Sun, another Murdoch-owned tabloid in London, and continuing as Ms. Brooks became editor of the The News of the World, editor of The Sun, and later chief executive of News International, overseeing all of the Murdoch titles in Britain.
The police look like to be working their way up the chain.
First Brooks' personal assistant and gatekeeper.
The next target in the investigation would undoubtedly be Brooks herself.
And above her would be James Murdoch, Rupert's son.
We'll see if they get that far.
One more thing on the hacking scandal - the NY Daily News hired a former News of the World editor who has accused James Murdoch of covering up the truth in the scandal, Colin Myler, to edit the Daily News