U.K. phone hacking investigator comes under fire

John Yates, the acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, arrives in Downing Street to attend a security meeting on May 3, 2011 in London, England. Getty

LONDON - The police officer who decided two years ago not to reopen an investigation into a phone hacking scandal says the News of the World newspaper did not cooperate fully with police.

Assistant Commisioner John Yates said Tuesday that the British tabloid did not give police all the information it had on allegations that some of its employees hacked into phones.

Yates added that he regrets a decision he made in 2009 not to investigate the allegations further.

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The New York Times reported late Monday that Yates and four other senior British investigators had themselves been phone-hacked by News of the World during an initial 2006 probe into the dubious practice of journalists.

The Times, citing unnamed current and former British officials, suggested that senior investigators may have decided to limit the scope of that probe after potentially damaging personal information was obtained via the hacking.

Answering stern questions from British lawmakers on Tuesday over the decision not to re-launch the investigation in 2009, Yates said he was "99 percent certain" his phone was hacked in 2005 and 2006.

He rejected any suggestion that the hacking, which eventually led to reports by other media organizations that he had used frequent flier miles earned on business trips to plan a family holiday, affected himself or his colleagues in their conduct of the investigation.

Also Tuesday, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused Rupert Murdoch's newspapers of employing criminals to obtain confidential information about his family, his private financial affairs and the lives of ordinary people who were at "rock bottom."

The Prince of Wales and Brown joined others on the list of possible hacking targets obtained by authorities from a private investigator hired by News of the World. Other reported targets include:

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