Newspapers may have hacked into hundreds of computers
The police investigation into computer hacking on behalf of newspapers is examining nearly 20 machines seized from private investigators and other individuals, suggesting that hundreds of individuals were targeted.
A small Scotland Yard team of eight detectives and support staff is examining an archive of hundreds of thousands of messages and documents from the machines, amid suggestions that the number of victims of computer hacking on Fleet Street's behalf could eventually rival the total targeted in the 'News of the World' phone hacking scandal.
Operation Tuleta, as the investigation is known, was launched in January to run alongside Operation Weeting, the ongoing investigation into voicemail interception at the NOTW. But it is understood that the remit of Tuleta is not limited to a single title and is investigating the alleged commissioning of computer hacking by several newspapers.
Sources with knowledge of the police inquiries said that officers are looking at 16 computers seized from private detectives suspected of carrying out the hacking. Another machine is understood to be linked with an unnamed former NOTW journalist.
Tuleta has been overshadowed by the far larger Weeting inquiry, which is charged with sifting through more than 11,000 pages of evidence seized from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, who is in charge of both investigations, said last week that the number of phone hacking victims stood at 803 and she was confident that all those whose voicemail messages were intercepted had been identified.
It is understood that police could be investigating "hundreds of victims" of computer hacking, including a second Labour cabinet minister besides former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, who was targeted in 2006.
The suspicion that hackers may have attempted to extract sensitive material was seen as further evidence of the potential gravity of electronic intrusion on behalf of newspapers. (© Independent News Service)