msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/21/2011 7:15:17 AM ET 2011-12-21T12:15:17

A former Daily Mirror journalist is challenging CNN star Piers Morgan's testimony to a media ethics inquiry, saying Morgan must have known about phone hacking at the tabloid he once edited.

James Hipwell said Wednesday that Morgan was intimately involved in the day-to-day operation of his paper, where he claims phone hacking took place as a matter of routine.

"I witnessed journalists carrying out repeated privacy infringements using what has now become a well-known technique — to hack into the voicemail systems of celebrities, their friends, publicists and public relations executives," Hipwell said in a statement read to the inquiry, according to BBC News.

"The openness and frequency of their hacking activities gave me the impression that hacking was considered a bog-standard journalistic tool for gathering information," he added.

Video: CNN host testifies about UK phone hacking scandal (on this page)

On Tuesday, Morgan claimed tabloid editors only knew about 5 percent of what went on at their papers.

Morgan denies being connected to the phone hacking scandal, which has shaken Britain's media establishment.

Hipwell and Morgan have a long history. Both were investigated as part of an inquiry into market manipulation after it emerged that Morgan had made a quick profit by buying shares which were promoted in the next day's edition of the paper.

Morgan was cleared of wrongdoing, but Hipwell and another tipster, Anil Bhoyrul, were convicted in 2005.

Hipwell said that he always believed that his former boss had been as guilty as he was.

"I can understand why people think that I have an axe to grind against him," Hipwell told the inquiry.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: CNN host testifies about UK phone hacking scandal

  1. Closed captioning of: CNN host testifies about UK phone hacking scandal

    >> editor piers morgan is on the hot seat testifying at the inquiry appearing through a video link from the u.s. morgan refused to give details into one of the most damning links between himself and the scandal. morgan admitting hearing a voice mail hacked from the phone of paul cartney's ex-wife heather mills . listen to specifics involving the tape.

    >> i can't discuss where i was played that tape or who played it. it to do so to compromise a source.

    >> joining us live and what else did piers morgan have to say.

    >> what you saw was a tense exchange and probably as close as he got to appearing to be obstructive. time and again that investigator asked morgan about the cartney voice mail . he refused to go down down that trail for fear of giving away his source. then brian is the head of the committee of inquiry and he asked if there was any information that he could provide that might back up morgan 's claim that he heard that voice mail legally and that morgan offered up this. he said that according to cartney, heather mills made recordings of their voice mail and distributed them to the media. the suggestion there being that some third party journal i felt had actually played morgan one of the recordings. from the beginning to the end of this today, morgan really stood his ground. he said he had not been personally involved in the hiring of investigators though he did say that was done often at newspapers. he believed that his journalists at the daily mirror and news of the world were working according to the law. but he didding is that tabloid journalism was and is a dark art that is difficult to stomach. he gave examples. let's listen to what he had to say.

    >> it's from what we talked about. the paparazzi and photography to taking people out of their homes. it's not the kind of work that sounds like it, but every news organization will do it and the process of gathering news.

    >> morgan denied saying he knew that the phone hacking was widespread. he denied paying police officers for information and said that was never practiced at the daily mirror . in a nut shell he held his ground and didn't get himself into too much trouble. he pretty much was good damage control.

    >> thank you very much, jim.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments