Rennie Deducing Scottish Government Phones Hacked by Media

The Scottish Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, is deducing that Scottish Government may have been hacked by the media – according to a report in today's Scotsman.

Says the newspaper: “[Rennie] made the [deduction] after Scotland’s most senior civil servant, Sir Peter Housden, refused to reveal details of whether the government had been a target of journalists acting illegally to obtain information.”

But the paper reports a response by Housden saying he was unable to disclose the information while the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards and a police investigation into possible phone hacking by Strathclyde Police – Operation Rubicon – were ongoing. 

The Scotsman quotes Rennie as saying: “It seems clear to me that Scottish Government phones have been hacked. Sir Peter could easily have told me that the Scottish Government had not become a victim. Telling me nothing had happened would not have jeopardised any police investigation – but he didn’t.

“If the phones have been hacked it may have had a serious impact on national security or commercial confidentiality.”

The Scotsman quotes Sir Peter as writing: “As I think you understand, there is an over-riding need not to compromise the work of the Leveson Inquiry. Lord Justice Leveson made it explicit in a public address on 15 May that a public debate on the matter of a witness’s evidence may make it difficult or even impossible for the inquiry to take evidence from that witness in a fair and impartial manner.

“In addition, the question of whether any Scottish Government telephones have been hacked falls squarely within the remit of Operation Rubicon. Operation Rubicon is an ongoing investigation in which, for operational reasons, disclosure of information has been highly restricted.

“Even the fact of whether Scottish Government telephones have been hacked has the potential to compromise the investigation.”