The phone hacking scandal continues to plague News International, with allegations now being made that a former reporter at The Times hacked into the emails of an anonymous police blogger, know as Nightjack.
The Times named Lancashire detective Richard Horton as the blogger in June 2009, after the High Court refused to grant an injunction protecting his identity.
Times editor James Harding had previously given evidence at the Leveson Enquiry, admitting that a reporter – named as Patrick Foster – had been reprimanded for accessing private emails.
In a further letter to the inquiry, Harding said: “When the reporter informed his managers that, in the course of his investigation, he had on his own initiative sought unauthorised access to an email account, he was told that if he wanted to pursue the story he had to use legitimate means to do so.
“He did, identifying the person at the heart of the story using his own sources and information publicly available on the internet.
“On that basis we made the case in the High Court that the newspaper should be allowed to publish in the public interest. After the judge ruled that we could publish in the public interest, we did.”
Foster has since left the paper.
The investigation follows claims by Labour MP Tom Watson, who this morning said he had received confirmation from the Met that The Times was being investigated.
Watson, a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said on Twitter: “The Met police have confirmed to me they are investigating [Rupert Murdoch’s] newspaper The Times over email hacking.”
The Met has also confirmed Watson’s involvement with the ongoing investigation, or ‘Operation Tuleta’ as the investigation into computer hacking has become known within The Met.
A police spokesman said: “Officers from Operation Tuleta are in contact with Mr Watson in relation to specific issues he wishes to raise.
“We are not prepared to give a running commentary on the Operation Tuleta investigation.”
The investigation is separate to Operation Weeting which is looking into allegations of phone hacking.