RUPERT Murdoch has rowed back from claims that the investigation into phone hacking and corruption is "totally incompetent" but said Scotland Yard's probe appears "excessive" and has "gone on too long".
In a letter responding to demands from UK MPs that the media magnate explain comments he made about police at a staff meeting, he conceded using the "wrong adjectives" to describe his frustration at events over the last two years.
But the News Corp boss also questioned whether officers had "approached these matters with an appropriate sense of proportion" and said it would be unfair to suggest his company had impeded police inquiries.
Mr Murdoch was apparently recorded describing the treatment of journalists who had been arrested as a "disgrace" during a meeting in March.
UK Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz wrote to Mr Murdoch asking him to comment on the recording.
In a reply released yesterday, Mr Murdoch said, "I am in no position to judge the competence of the investigation and should never have done so."