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In Parliament, James Murdoch Says He Didn't Know Extent Of Hacking

James Murduch, the son of Rupert Murdoch and his deputy CEO at News Corp., was defiant in his second appearance before British Parliament. Murdoch, whose company has been under fire after it was accused of hacking into the phones of royalty and victims of crime, said he did not know the extent of the illegal activity undertaken at his publications.

The New York Times reports:

Wearing a blue suit and sporting the red lapel poppy that many Britons wear for an annual commemoration of those who have fallen in battle, Mr. Murdoch seemed combative and self-assured, repeatedly denying during the two-and-a-half hour interrogation that he had received evidence of "wider spread phone hacking" at a crucial meeting in 2008.

"No, I did not," Mr. Murdoch replied after a committee member asked him if he had, in fact, given misleading testimony about what he knew and when he knew it.

He did appear to alter one aspect of his account, acknowledging that he was made aware in 2008 of a damning e-mail that contained evidence that phone hacking was more widespread at one of the company's newspapers, The News of the World, than he has publicly acknowledged. But he insisted that its exact nature had not been made clear to him.

The Guardian, which has led in breaking news of this story, reports that Murdoch blamed his deputies for withholding the context in an email that proved phone hacking was used extensively.

"After the resignation of [former News of the World editor Andy] Coulson, [former News International chairman Les] Hinton brought Myler in to clean things up and bring newspaper forward," Murdoch told MPs, according to the Guardian "If he had known that there was wider-spread criminality I think he should have told me."

As we reported back in September, News of the World's former legal manager told Parliament that James Murdoch knew of the existence of an email from a private detective that included transcripts of hacked voice mails.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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