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New WaPo Editor and his handpicked crony used hacked records

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You can take the boy out of the Murdoch press but…

The publisher and the incoming editor of The Washington Post, when they worked as journalists in London two decades ago, used fraudulently obtained phone and company records in newspaper articles, according to a former colleague, a published account of a private investigator and an analysis of newspaper archives.

Will Lewis, The Post’s publisher, assigned one of the articles in 2004 as business editor of The Sunday Times. Another was written by Robert Winnett, whom Mr. Lewis recently announced as The Post’s next executive editor.

The use of deception, hacking and fraud is at the heart of a long-running British newspaper scandal, one that toppled a major tabloid in 2010 and led to years of lawsuits by celebrities who said that reporters improperly obtained their personal documents and voice mail messages.

Mr. Lewis has maintained that his only involvement in the controversy was helping to root out problematic behavior after the fact, while working for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

But a former Sunday Times reporter said on Friday that Mr. Lewis had personally assigned him to write an article in 2004 using phone records that the reporter understood to have been obtained through hacking.

After that story broke, a British businessman who was the subject of the article said publicly that his records had been stolen. The reporter, Peter Koenig, described Mr. Lewis as a talented editor — one of the best he had worked with. But as time went on, he said Mr. Lewis changed.

“His ambition outran his ethics,” Mr. Koenig said.

The Post itself (to its credit) has more:

The alleged offense was trying to steal a soon-to-be-released copy of former prime minister Tony Blair’s memoir.

The suspect arrested by London police in 2010 was John Ford, a once-aspiring actor who has since admitted to an extensive career using deception and illegal means to obtain confidential information for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper. Facing potential prosecution, Ford called a journalist he said he had collaborated with repeatedly — and trusted to come to his rescue.

That journalist, according to draft book chapters Ford later wrote recounting his ordeal, was Robert Winnett, a Sunday Times veteran who is set to become editor of The Washington Post later this year.

Another great day in the American meritocracy.

…[thinking emoji]

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