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[ISN] Scooped - by his own mobile phone
From: InfoSec News (alertsinfosecnews.org)
Date: Thu Nov 30 2006 - 00:58:35 CST
By Sandra Laville and Owen Gibson
November 30, 2006
When Clive Goodman tapped into the mobile phone messaging services of
Prince William's closest aides he was laying a trail that led police
straight back to his own phone. It was this particular lack of guile
that surprised investigating officers and allowed them to build a
criminal case around a practice they had long suspected some journalists
of using to get their scoops.
Goodman was caught telephoning the mobile phones of senior figures
within the Prince of Wales's household. After ensuring the mobiles were
switched off, he would wait for the message contained on every phone
asking the caller to leave a message after the tone.
At some point during this message Goodman would punch in the code
programmed as the security number in most mobile phones- 4444, or any
similar repetition of a digit - and gain instant access to messages in
the personal mailbox.
Because most people forget to change the security code in place when
they buy the phone, the method worked beautifully for Goodman.
What astonished many newspaper colleagues was that Goodman, a veteran
tabloid reporter, had risked so much for stories which were, in the end,
It was when these tales, which involved Prince William, appeared in
Goodman's Blackadder diary column in the News of the World that aides to
the prince and his father began to get suspicious.
The first item was an article on November 6 last year stating that
Prince William had consulted doctors about a pulled tendon in his knee.
It went on to say the injury had forced the prince to postpone a
mountain rescue course.
So few people were aware of his doctor's appointment that the prince was
puzzled as to how it had been discovered.
A week later the diary ran another article, stating that Tom Bradby,
ITV's former royal correspondent, and a man known to have built a good
relationship with the prince, had lent him some broadcasting equipment.
Another clue to aides was that the piece appeared a week before Bradby
was due to meet William.
Mr Bradby said when they eventually met William said he was concerned
about how the information had been leaked. "We worked out that only he
and I and two people incredibly close to him had actually known about
it," said Mr Bradby, who is now political editor for ITN.
Among the prince's entourage is a Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, an ex-SAS
officer with experience in detecting far more sophisticated techniques
than adopted by Goodman. He quickly spotted how the tapping was being
carried out and the prince's staff contacted police.
The inquiry was handed to the counter-terrorism branch of Scotland Yard.
The investigation found that among those targeted were David Blunkett,
while he was home secretary, the government minister David Miliband, the
England and Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell, the editor of the Sun,
Rebekah Wade, the Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes, the supermodel Elle
Macpherson, and the publicist Max Clifford. Most had no idea about the
Goodman used a private investigator for much of the work. Glenn
Mulcaire, 35, a former Wimbledon footballer, invoiced the reporter for
the work he did, without specifying the nature of it.
Fourteen other charges were left on the file, involving the alleged
phone-tapping of Mr Lowther-Pinkerton, Helen Asprey, the Prince of
Wales's aide, and Paddy Harveson, his communications secretary. Scotland
Yard is not pursuing the cases.
Goodman, who has been suspended by the News of the World, apologised in
court to the three members of the royal household staff concerned and
their principals, princes William, Harry and Charles.
Andy Coulson, the paper's editor, said: "The News of the World will ...
be making a substantial donation to charities of the Princes' choice."
Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince of Wales and their staff
Prince William's suspicions were first roused when a diary item appeared
in Goodman's Blackadder column in the News of the World revealing he had
consulted doctors about a pulled tendon in his knee. A second article
claimed that Tom Bradby, now ITV's political editor, had lent William
some broadcasting equipment - a fact only known to the pair of them and
two of the prince's closest aides.
The publicist fell out with News of the World editor Andy Coulson 18
months ago over a story about his client Kerry Katona. The pair have
been engaged in a bitter dispute since. Clifford, who once provided a
steady stream of scoops to the NoW, said he was notified by his service
provider of "irregular patterns" in accessing his mobile phone.
High profile football agent, also known as Sky Andrew, whose association
with Sol Campbell, former Arsenal and England defender who now plays for
Portsmouth, is likely to have led to him being targeted by Mulcaire.
The outspoken chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, he
often takes personal calls from players in newsworthy situations.
Simon Hughes MP
At the height of the Liberal Democrat leadership race, Simon Hughes gave
an interview to the Sun in which he said he was gay, a week after
claiming he wasn't. Mulcaire was most likely trying to access his
voicemail for incriminating messages.
The Australian supermodel, known throughout tabloid-land as "The Body",
recently split from her long-term partner Arpad Busson and has been
linked with a string of new partners since - including Sol Campbell.
Goodman and Mulcaire pleaded guilty to conspiracy to intercept
communications without lawful authority, under the Criminal Law Act
1977. Mulcaire also pleaded guilty to a further five counts of unlawful
interception of communications under the Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act (RIPA) 2000, a more recent law brought in to recognise
technological advances in telephony and the internet.
It was controversial at the time, with civil rights campaigners
complaining it gave police and security services undue leeway while not
doing enough to protect the privacy of individuals. Offences under both
acts can be punishable with prison. Several other charges involving both
men were left on file.
"There is a real risk of Mr Goodman going to prison, in order to deter
tabloid newspapers, and all who assist them, from this gross invasion of
privacy," said Louise Delahunty, a partner in the litigation department
at the law firm Simmons & Simmons. "The court will want to show that the
anti-bugging law, RIPA, has teeth."
Bugging and phone-tapping are also forbidden under the self-regulatory
Press Complaints Commission code of practice, unless it can be shown to
be in the public interest.
"It is a totally unacceptable practice unless there is a compelling
public interest reason for carrying it out," said the PCC chairman, Sir
Christopher Meyer, yesterday.
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