News America Buddy Governor Chris Christie

Metropolitan Correction Center Blues

Metropolitan Correction Center Blues

Speaking of the culture of News Corporation, Jim Edwards has been following the News America trials closely for a while now, and reports:

The allegations were first reported by BNET in 2009, and touched upon again by the New York Times today.

In the case, FGI alleged News engaged in a number of anti-competitive practices, including using stolen passwords to illicitly enter its computer system to review or download sales information. George Rebh, the owner of FGI, testified in a New Jersey federal court in 2009 that he had been contacted by Smuckers in January 2004 after the client became curious that News seemed to have confidential information about its business stored on FGI’s password-protected website for advertiser clients. Rebh testified:

We — our IT people looked at our password-protected site to see if there was any access to that site by unauthorized users.

They discovered that beginning in October of 2003 through the time that we discovered this, in January of 2004, in fact, right up to the day before, there had been unauthorized accesses into our system by people utilizing computers registered with an IP address to News America Marketing. IP address is registered to News America Marketing in Connecticut.

… There were 11 separate accesses over that four-month period.

The unauthorized access allowed users to see FGI’s clients’ advertising plans and sales records — crucial information that competitors could use to undercut FGI in negotiations with clients. Rebh testified that was exactly what happened: FGI lost its key account with Safeway supermarkets, and the company dwindled to just 25 employees at the time of the case, Rebh said:

In short, the loss of the Safeway contract marked the beginning of the end of our company.

(click here to continue reading Inside News Corp.’s (Alleged) U.S. Computer-Hacking Scandal | BNET.)

and mentions an interesting fact:

FGI also alerted former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (now governor of New Jersey) and former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez asking for an investigation of the hacking. When the company got no response, it asked former U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, current U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and U.S. Rep. Rush Holt to write to Christie and Gonzalez again, asking for an update. (Download the FGI v. News hacking memos here (PDF).) Christie’s former commercial crimes chief, Deborah Gramiccioni  responded that the case was:

…under review by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in our Commercial Crimes Unit. Because the above-references matter may involve fraud, we are also forwarding copies of your letter and the attached information to the Febreal Bureau of Investigation for review.

Nothing came of the probe.

(click here to continue reading Inside News Corp.’s (Alleged) U.S. Computer-Hacking Scandal | BNET.)

Too Many Mistakes
Too Many Mistakes

Even curiouser is that Governor Christie is a favorite of Murdoch’s Fox News, and there have even been reports that the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, is an advisor to Governor Christie as he considers running for the GOP nomination.

The office of Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is claiming that Fox News chairman Roger Ailes is a confidential adviser whose interactions with the governor should remain secret under New Jersey’s executive privilege. Last month, after New York magazine reported that Ailes met with Christie last summer and called him this year to urge him to run for president, Gawker filed a request under New Jersey’s Open Records Act seeking any correspondence between the two men, as well as any records of meetings or phone calls with Ailes from Christie’s schedule or call logs.

Last week we received a rather surprising response: While declining to confirm the existence of any such records, Christie’s office said they “would be exempt from disclosure…based upon the executive privilege and well-settled case law.” In other words, Christie’s staff refused to search for any records—which, given the undisputed reports of a dinner and phone call, almost certainly exist—on the basis that Ailes is a confidential adviser whose comments should be shielded from public scrutiny.

(click here to continue reading Gov. Chris Christie Claims Fox News Chief as Confidential Adviser.)

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