Hacking probe police in Northern Ireland as journalist claims his computer was accessed illegally
Scotland Yard's investigation into the alleged hacking of computers on behalf of News International's newspapers has dramatically switched to Northern Ireland.
The Met officer in charge of the Yard's investigation, Detective Inspector Noel Beswick, yesterday spoke to a local journalist who alleges that he was the victim of computer hacking during a meeting at a solicitor's office.
Inspector Beswick has already interviewed a former army intelligence agent Kevin Fulton who has made a formal complaint that his computer system was penetrated by an unknown hacker six years ago in a trawl for a document about the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Fulton told Beswick that he believes the hacker was looking for a document known as 'JJ8' which he hoped might be stored on his computer.
Fulton has alleged that material held on the computer, including emails, was obtained and passed to News International reporters.
Fulton made a complaint to the Police Ombudsman that in 2005 PSNI officers had accessed his computer and provided material from it to journalists, but his complaint was rejected due to lack of evidence.
Inspector Beswick is expected to ask the PSNI to provide him with the computer they seized from Fulton during the raid on his London safe house so that experts can examine it to establish if a Trojan horse virus was put in it via an email to enable a hacker to have remote access.
Earlier this year Fulton's solicitor wrote to the Metropolitan police alleging that some of his emails had been intercepted in 2006.
Beswick replied in June saying that a small team of officers had been established by Scotland Yard to examine allegations that information had been obtained illegally by means other than voicemail which was being investigated under 'Operation Weeting'.
He said that Fulton's allegations fell into this category and would be examined under 'Operation Tuleta' by the Yard's SCD6 Economic and Specialist Crime unit.
It's understood that during the interview with Fulton a fortnight ago Inspector Beswick confirmed that his team had obtained material from News International's lawyers which corresponded with the contents of emails held on Fulton's computer.
Another former Army agent, who uses the pseudonym Sam Rosenfeld, is expected to make a statement to 'Operation Tuleta' officers next week to outline suspicions about the alleged obtaining of information from his computers in 2006.
Last month it emerged that the Metropolitan Police's investigation into hacking had widened from allegations of voicemail interception to that of emails and computer files.
Scotland Yard set up a new team to look into claims made by various individuals that their personal computers were hacked into in ways other than by voicemail interception.
The probe is called Operation Tuleta.