UK media scandal: 2 new computer hacking arrests

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By RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Britain's media ethics scandal flared again just ahead of Rupert Murdoch's launch of The Sun on Sunday, with two men arrested on suspicion of computer hacking Friday and a senior police officer placed under investigation for allegedly leaking information to the Australian tycoon's U.K. newspaper company.

Police said that the latest arrests were carried out in Hertfordshire and Surrey, two English counties just outside the capital, under the aegis of Operation Tuleta, which is investigating allegations that journalists broke into computer systems to steal information.

But in a statement the force said that "these arrests are not directly linked to any news organization or the activities of journalists."

The force refused to say whether that meant that the suspects arrested on suspicion of computer hacking were police officers or private investigators. A spokeswoman said police wouldn't go any further than the statement. She demanded that her name be kept out of print, citing policy.

Operation Tuleta is one of three parallel investigations spawned by the tabloid phone hacking scandal, which grew out of revelations that journalists at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid routinely hacked into the cell phones of those in the public eye to score scoops.

Dozens have been arrested or been pushed to resign because of the scandal, include two of Britain's top police officers, who were accused of not doing enough to get to grips with the tabloid's wrongdoing.

The latest arrests follow news announced Friday morning that a senior London police officer is being investigated for allegedly making an "inappropriate disclosure of information" to the paper's publisher during the initial inquiry into phone hacking in 2006.

That investigation, now discredited, found little evidence to support claims that journalists at the News of the World tabloid illegally intercepted voice mails. Critics cite the failed inquiry as evidence that police deliberately helped the Murdoch paper cover up its crimes.

The News of the World was closed in July, but Murdoch is in London to oversee the launch of its successor, The Sun on Sunday, this weekend.

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