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Video: Questions over James Murdoch’s testimony

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    >>> rupert murdoch 's son james is now being accused of not telling the truth during a key part of his testimony to parliament tuesday. during tuesday's testimony, james murdoch said he was never told about a vital email suggesting reporter neville thur elback was involved in phone hacking. but today, collin miler, editor of "news of the world" just before it shut down and tom crone, the paper's former head of legal affairs , said they had told murdoch of the email which included transcripts of hacked voicemails. in a joint statement, they said --

    >>> news corp . then issued this statement. james murdoch stands by his testimony to the select committee . the committee chairman may ask james murdoch to appear again before parliament to clear up that matter. this cartoon appeared in today's edition of murdoch 's british newspaper "the times," under the word "priorities." the cartoon shows a group of starving so mallian children with one of them saying, i've had a bellyful of phone hacking. the cartoon provoked a storm of criticism on twitter. the bbc's robert rea tweeted, disgraceful. implies focusing on corruption allows famine to go unchecked. npr's louisa lim said it's crude, tasteless, and comes off as pro murdoch propaganda. and on this side of the ocean, it seems like the united states is indeed investigating claims of news corp . repeatedly hacking one of its rivals.

    >>> joining me now, michael isikoff . michael, what is the latest in terms of the investigation that's going on here in the states?

    >> well, the new development is this company in new jersey, floor graphics, which is an advertising firm that does floor graphics for safeway and stores like that, had been a rival of news america , which was the advertising division of news corp . and back in 2003 and 2004 , it discovered that its password protected computer system had been hacked and traced it to an ip address at news america , its competitor. they reported this to the fbi at the time, to the u.s. attorney 's office, then headed by chris christie in new jersey, and the new jersey state police . nothing came of those. but these allegations were a central part of a lawsuit that floor graphics filed against news america , and that was settled with a $29 million payment by news america to the owners of floor graphics in 2009 . what happened this week is the lawyer for floor graphics gets contacted by two prosecutors at the u.s. attorney 's office out of the southern district of new york , and an fbi agent, asking about the details of that computer hacking incident. it was clearly related to this broader inquiry of news corp . that was ordered last week by attorney general holder, and it's the first sign of a tangible, specific allegation of hacking in the united states that's being investigated by the justice department .

    >> and so where -- news of america , who is in that entity? who would be exposed in this?

    >> the chairman and ceo is a man by the name of paul carlucci, who is the publisher of "the new york post." he was at news of america , and he was promoted to the job of "new york post" editor in 2005 . after this incident had taken place.

    >> so here is an operation that may have engaged in this kind of activity just in its operation of an advertising business. when you move over into the operations of "the new york post," there could be even more interesting ways as they have discovered in london in the newspapers to exploit that kind of thing.

    >> well, could be. but let's be clear. we don't have any evidence of that. and i should also point out that it would be very hard to see how the feds could make a case about this particular allegation alone at this time, because the statute of limitations has expired. there's a five-year statute of limitations on computer crime . but if it's part of a broader pattern of conduct, which is what lawyers suspect, the fbi and the prosecutors are trying to look at here, is there this broader pattern, if so, then this could become part of that.

    >> and big surprise, a very, very sharp contradiction in james murdoch 's testimony plays out today. and the murdoch response was basically no response at all.

    >> right. you know, the interesting character to watch there is tom crone, the lawyer. he's made clear that he's not going to be the fall guy here. and if they -- if the murdochs and news corp . try to lay everything on him, because he was the chief lawyer for "news of the world," he's not going to sit idly by. so if the brits are looking for a john dean character in all this, i would think that tom crone is the guy to watch, and the statement today contradicting james murdoch 's testimony about that email is the first sign that he may in fact be willing to go there.

    >> nbc news national investigative correspondent michael isikoff . thank you for joining me tonight, michael.

    >> thank you, lawrence.


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