back to article 'Unconvincing' Met top cop Yates: My phone was hacked

John Yates, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, claimed today at a parliamentary hearing into the ongoing phone-tapping allegations against News International publications that his voicemail had been illegally intercepted too. He told the Home Affairs select committee, chaired by Labour MP Keith Vaz, that he was "99 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lack of action?

    He said it was "unfair", based on the lack of action by NI, for people to be calling for the assistant commissioner to stand down from his job.

    Umm what? So, because NI didn't 'help with your inquiries' you gave up? Remind me to quote that when I rob a bank. I'll refuse to help with inquiries and they'll let me off. Nice.

  2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Eh???

    A policeman who doesn't abuse his position to go after people who have done wrong to him personally???

    And then have those same people fall down the station stairs 'by accident' a couple of times.

  3. hyartep
    WTF?

    fascinating

    imagine police officer saying: "suspected attacker did not provided evidence so we dropped charges"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Astonishing isn't it?

      And this man still hasn't resigned.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Even more astonishing ....

        Master Yates has not been sacked for gross incompetence and dereliction. But that may yet happen! The enquiry hasn't finished yet.

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Of course they'll let you off

      " "I felt the evidence had been followed," he said. " From the (police) horses' mouth.

      Nuff said.

    3. JimC Silver badge
      Holmes

      Only too easy to believe

      If you've been the victim of any crime which the police can't be bothered to investigate...

    4. Alan Firminger

      But ...

      ... he is in charge of protection for the Olympics. We are all doomed.

    5. Intractable Potsherd
      Thumb Up

      Absolutely right, Andrew ...

      ... this does not make any sense at all. He must be a truly exceptional officer of the leur* if he ignored someone doing something wrong to him, and then missed the fact that there was a really juicy case that would get his name and face all over the media, guaranteeing promotion in the future.

      * Yes, that is a deliberate comment on his competence.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Copper blames criminals for not providing evidence of their own crimes?

    >"Yates blamed News International, the sister company of Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp, for failing to provide evidence sooner about whose voicemails had been intercepted."

    It seems implausible to me that you could reach such a high rank within the police force without even the elementary knowledge that criminals tend not to spontaneously turn themselves in and in fact will often lie and tell you they haven't done anything wrong. Which is why I don't for a second believe his protestations of being an innocent dupe. Leaving me no other conclusion to reach than that he wanted to hush the whole thing up and make it go away and essentially collaborated with the suspects he was supposed to be investigating - News International - to grant them impunity. He should be in jail for perverting the course of justice.

    1. breakfast
      Mushroom

      You would think that...

      Have you *seen* the clear-up rates for crime in this country?

      If a criminal doesn't find themselves overwhelmed with morality and turn themselves in or actually leave their phone or full name and address at the scene of a crime, the chances of them being apprehended are so close to zero as to be indistinguishable for all practical purposes.

      Of course, News International did involve known criminals comitting clear and easy to follow up crimes and the Guardian had already found all the evidence for him when he refused to reopen the case, so it's not excuse in this case...

    2. Marcus Aurelius
      Meh

      Am I the only one with some sympathy?

      Yes, but for example, he would have needed a warrant to search News International and get all their emails etc., and at the time I doubt he had enough evidence to show reasonable cause to search and disrupt such a large politically charged target.

      Quite honestly, I suspect he had better things to do than have half the Met wading through emails. Like keeping policemen on the street reducing violent crime maybe

      1. Anonymous John

        Policemen on the street ?

        Where do you live?

      2. The Cube
        FAIL

        Policemen on the street ??reducing?? violent crime

        Surely you mean, death squads on the street executing Brazilian plumbers because they live a bit near somewhere they think a bloke who looks a bit like a suspected assistant to a terrorist might be staying.

        If a few more of the little piggies had been off the street investigating actual crimes instead of lining up to beat the crap out of legitimate protesters perhaps a few more newspaper salesmen would still be alive too.

        If you want violent crime reduced, get rid of the Met.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        'Reducing violent crime maybe'

        He's done a bangup job of that...

        From 2009, the time point where he was too busy with his 'better things to do': http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/5712573/UK-is-violent-crime-capital-of-Europe.html

        I suppose if you compare on a long enough time scale, such as today compared to when the Vikings were raiding the British Isles, you might find a reduction. Even the Yanks have a substantial advantage in this category.

      4. Alan Firminger

        No

        He had Mulcaire's notes. All he had to do was spend ten minutes flicking through these to discover the scale of abuse and criminality.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Sympathy? Sucker, more like.

        >"he would have needed a warrant to search News International and get all their emails etc"

        Oh, poor baby, my heart bleeds for him. Imagine expecting a policeman to actually have to bother to do things like getting warrants and investigating crimes. How unreasonably demanding that would have been on him.

        >"I doubt he had enough evidence to show reasonable cause to search and disrupt such a large politically charged target"

        Of course he did. Coulson and Brooks admitted to bribing police in 2002 before a parliamentary committee. Private Eye had been reporting accusations against NotW for years. There was plenty of prima facie - for anyone who could be bothered to look for it. That he didn't, can only reflect a conscious voluntary choice.

        >"I suspect he had better things to do than have half the Met wading through emails. Like keeping policemen on the street reducing violent crime maybe"

        Well, it's all a matter of priorities. In his case, the priority was to not embarrass the rich and powerful by holding them accountable to the same law the rest of us have to live by.

      6. Intractable Potsherd
        Facepalm

        @Marcus Aurelius ...

        "Am I the only one with some sympathy?" - yes, you probably are. I doubt even Yates' family have any sympathy for him ...

  5. Vic

    What???

    > He said it was "unfair", based on the lack of action by NI, for people to

    > be calling for the assistant commissioner to stand down from his job.

    Eh?

    So it is correct behaviour for a policeman to stop investigating an offence when the alleged perpetrator says he didn't do nuffin' ?

    Well, there you go then. "No, officer, I didn't steal this Porsche. No, I'm not still sitting in it with the engine running. These are not the sports cars you are looking for. I can go about my business."

    Vic.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    where do I claim my 5 pounds ?

    previously when this was discussed, I suggested Yeats (in)actions could be explained by NI having dirt on him.

    Now it seems I may have been right. I wonder what his voicemails revealed ?

    1. asiaseen

      Perhaps

      how much his bank account had benefited

  7. Stephane Mabille
    Stop

    Doh!

    So to summarise the inquiry so far:

    - Rebekah Brooks is in charge of investigating internally at News Corp/News Int if she was aware of any wrong doing and if she received/read her email?

    - The Met is in charge of checking if they were corrupted and/or blackmailed to pursue/close the enquiry?

    Isn't their a law to protect you against "self incrimination"?

    If only Al Capone was tasked of investigating his own finance.....

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Unconvincing

    Or unconvicting....?

  9. Rob 5

    On the other hand...

    It's entirely possible that the kicking Yates is getting from the politicians is little more than revenge for his role in the cash for honours business.

    1. Gary Heard

      But

      If that was the case, he's have been somewhat more convincing in his evidence to the committee.

      On the other hand, following on from Yates, Hayman got what I thought was a much bigger kicking

  10. Ivor
    Big Brother

    Vaz

    Ah yes, Keith Vaz. Champion of truth and honesty.

    FFS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly

      Exactly. If Vaz can have something bad to say about you, then blimey you must be bad.

      1. Scorchio!!
        Thumb Up

        Re: Exactly

        "Exactly. If Vaz can have something bad to say about you, then blimey you must be bad."

        Filkin enquiry, Hinduja affair, Nadhmi Auchi, suspended from House of Commons for making a false allegation against a former police officer, Eileen Eggington... ...isn't putting him in charge of this committee/enquiry a bit like allowing the Kray Twins to run the West End of London? His imperious flourish at the end, that he found Yates' evidence, unconvincing, is hilarious; I agree that it is, but coming from Vaz...

  11. Bilgepipe

    Slippery

    Heard him on the radio. He was as slippery as a slimy, eely, slippery thing.

  12. Zog The Undeniable
    Thumb Down

    The universal defence

    Rebekah* Brooks has also claimed her own phone was hacked (by whom and for what purpose, we weren't told). This is getting as obvious and as tedious as the "I have Asperger's" defence used by hackers.

    *chav spelling

    1. Michael Dunn
      Headmaster

      Chav spelling?

      Actually pretty close to the Hebrew spelling.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Top cop bottom in class

    It astonished me that the cop looking into phone hacking should claim that his own phone has been hacked.

    If I understand it correctly, this isn't about hacking at all, but just exploiting the fact the user hasn't set a voicemail password. So it seems the investigating cop doesn't even know how to protect his own phone.

    When you're that clued up about the case, perhaps we can't expect any miracles (like catching the crooks).

    OTOH, maybe he's just spouting a pack of lies. Seems about equally likely either way.

    1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Unfortunately no

      It is about a combination of

      - not setting your password

      - allowing caller ID spoofing to bypass a password (largely but not entirely removed)

      - mobile companies (and banks and tax authorities and....) being persuaded that the caller is who they are not and allowing accccess

      Pay a bit of attention to detail

  14. Stephane Mabille
    Go

    Well done

    We must congratulate News International for productivity:

    I have sometimes issues keeping track of my personal and professional voicemails, that's 2 accounts....

    Imagine the poor investigators juggling with 4,000, and according to Rebekah Brooks they were only 2 of them.

    I would love to know how many "targets" each analyst at GCHQ is handling! If her resignation is ever accepted we know where she should apply....

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    MET are useless

    Anyone who has any prior dealings with the MET will realise they are useless so it comes as not suprise this guy refuses to resign, he probably doesn't realise he has done anything wrong

  16. Baked Beans
    Facepalm

    Or maybe

    "Hacks into police organizations designed to steal private and sensitive data are ten a penny these days and we've never gone to the effort of tracking the people down in the past, why break the habit?"

    But then again that only applies to heroic "canaries" of Anonymous and LulzSec; when RM's cronies do it it's baaaad, mkay.

  17. Peter Murphy
    Coat

    So, we've all know of cases where crooks pay off cops.

    It's known as corruption. But what do you call it when the crooks are journos?

    A Yates Infection.

    (Coat, please, now.)

  18. nsld
    Big Brother

    And there was me thinking

    That the idea of being an "Inspector" in the police was to actually go and find the evidence as opposed to waiting for the suspects to hand it over.

    The scale of the hacking was clear from the start of the first investigation yet only the royal aspect was prosecuted which really does suggest that News International had a very good "insurance policy" of material on senior Met people to limit the scope of the original investigation.

    And the fact that other senior Met staff like Haymen where out for dinner with NI execs is also food for thought in more ways than one!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Tony ?

    "yes control ?"

    "I've been trying out a new technique we've learned from the Russians"

    "Really control ?"

    "Yes. It's called 'lying'"

    "How does that work, control ?"

    "Well Tony, you say something, but it's not the truth"

  20. Tony Paulazzo
    Alien

    Title

    >OTOH, maybe he's just spouting a pack of lies.<

    Congratulations AC, you win the internet for a day.

    In other news: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely... and something about staring into the ABYSS....

    Zounds! Fnord. With the news that the three political leaders temporarily found a backbone to share and intimated that News International should stop the bskyb buyout thing until after this debacle had been finished with, the evil IMF Zionist media conspiracy evil empire aliens thing lost an important battle... tho' they did fuck over Italy so...

  21. Michael Dunn

    Obviously a Jedi mind trick!

    Well, there you go then. "No, officer, I didn't steal this Porsche. No, I'm not still sitting in it with the engine running. These are not the sports cars you are looking for. I can go about my business."

  22. Chad H.
    WTF?

    In other words

    If the cops don't arrest the crook, its now officially the Crooks fault for not incriminating himself.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Life of John

    My phone's been hacked and so has my wife's.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    My head hurts

    The issue is said to be whether “some police officers” took money from the Murdoch press for information. Presumably some of them were taking money for giving details of (for example) crime scenes. Some of them it seems were taking money to release confidential information, such as royal phone numbers. Presumably some of the information could have been used for serious security breaches.

    There is, however, another level of police corruption which is far more worrying, I think. There is a clear indication that more senior policemen may have knowingly suppressed evidence or failed to investigate some leads thoroughly. There has been a suggestion made in the press in the last few days that some senior officers had also been the target of hacking. This might simply have been to provide more stories for the newspapers: “ACC for Barsetshire found in bed with 3 male models and “Miss Whiplash””. There is bound, however, to be the suspicion that these stories might be retained by the editor, to be used later to blackmail said police officer into overlooking, condoning or actively concealing wrongdoing of some kind by the newspaper, or its stable mates.

    So what does that give us. Worst case analysis: NI (and perhaps other papers) collecting material, legally and illegally, and keeping it on file and then using it later. It could be published in such a way as directly to alter events, from a general election or a declaration of war, to who wins the X Factor. It could be used for revenge attacks on those who have in some way crossed the newspaper, its editor, its proprietor or simply an individual reporter. Lastly it can be used as blackmail against anyone including senior policemen, government ministers or civil servants, members of the Royal Family, judges or senior military personnel. Those who say, “publish and be damned” may find that even if they are not directly damaged, family and friends are almost inevitably affected.

    In all cases it maintains a climate of fear even amongst those who have not been “targeted”, since no one knows what material the newspaper holds. So one very powerful media group has a lot of legal leverage. A government minister said on Newsnight tonight that “You need the support of the Murdoch press if you want to get elected.”

    They may even just have guaranteed that no one will do anything without the NI being in the loop. That allows for personal grudges and campaigns (like the Murdoch family's personal hate for the BBC) as well as helping push policies which are in the interests of the individual proprietors or their newspapers.

    It seems that NI came to think of themselves as above the law, able perhaps to re-make the law as they wish it.

    Most of all they might have been capable of finding the right person, at any juncture, and saying – in coded language, “do what we say or else …” and everybody knows that – and can’t say so.

    Let's hope that some of the worst of this climate of intimidation is going to be blown away in the whirlwind which has so unexpectedly swept through Westminster.

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