Reuters has a fascinating report looking at News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee – the body which handed over information to police which resulted in four very senior serving and former Sun journalists being arrested on Saturday morning.
According to Reuters, on any given day more than 100 lawyers, investigators and computer experts are in am office next to News International’s Wapping headquarters going through “300 million emails, expense claims, phone records and other documents”.
The work is expected to last 18 months, Reuters reports.
It’s unclear whether the MSC itself found the evidence which led to the Sun four being arrested on Saturday morning – or whether it was police, searching through the massive data pile.
Here’s what Reuters has to say about the way the process works:
The committee is divided into teams of lawyers and police who work in soundproofed offices, according to the people who are familiar with the work. The volume of data is so large that there is no question of reading each document. Instead, searches are carried out for key terms, meaning that no one knows what secrets may be buried in the documents – many of them deleted or corrupted emails that have been recently recovered – until the right term is hit upon.
Reuters notes that the MSC turned up an email which put News Corp Europe and Asia boss James Murdoch in some hot water in December – evidence it would appear that the committee is truly independent:
James has consistently said that he did not know all the facts when he approved the payment, despite the revelation by the MSC in December of an email trail that would have alerted him to the scale of the problem, had he read it. His defense was that he likely read the email on his BlackBerry, as he received it on a Saturday, and did not scroll down to read all of the correspondence.
The Management and Standards Committee was set up last July to lead News Corp’s clean-up of the phone-hacking mess. It is headed by Lord Grabiner QC and has Simon Greenberg and Will Lewis working on it full-time.