Wondering why Scotland Yard botched the investigation into the News Corp phone-hacking scandal so badly? Well, it wasn't because the police agency was comically inept—at least, not entirely because it was comically inept—but because it was comically corrupt!

The New York Times' Don Van Natta Jr. has a big, juicy article about the Yard's role in the rapidly-expanding scandal, including the revelation that some 11,000 pages of notes pertaining to the hacking of phones at News International paper News of the World (containing, Van Natta writes, "nearly 4,000 celebrities, politicians, sports stars, police officials and crime victims whose phones may have been hacked") sat unexamined in an evidence room for four years, despite public claims that the police had finished their investigation.

Meanwhile, News International executives and editors were routinely meeting for meals with top policeman, and entering and exiting through the "revolving door" of job offers between the institutions. Indeed, Scotland Yard and News International "became so intertwined that they wound up sharing the goal of containing the investigation." So intertwined that News International had, essentially, a double agent:

On Friday, The New York Times learned that... former editor, Neil Wallis, was reporting back to News International while he was working for the police [as a media strategist] on the hacking case.


It was not until Thursday night that Scotland Yard revealed that Mr. Wallis had worked for it for a year. That revelation came about 10 hours after he was arrested at his west London home in connection with the phone hacking.

"This is stunning," a senior Scotland Yard official who retired within the past few years said when informed about Mr. Wallis's secret dual role. "It appears to be collusion. It has left a terrible odor around the Yard."

Yes! A terrible odor! Can you smell it? It's the odor of... collusion. Anyway, if he has any sense Murdoch will just shutter Scotland Yard the way he did News of the World, and then re-open it later branded as The Sun Investigates or something.

[NYT; image via AP]