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Fox News accused of black operations dept

world Updated: Jul 21, 2011 23:22 IST
Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch's Fox News had a secret 'black operations' department that may have illegally hacked phone records, a former senior executive has revealed.

Dan Cooper, who was the managing editor when Fox News was launched in 1996, said that a 'brain room' carried out 'counter intelligence' on the channel's enemies from its New York headquarters.

Another former senior executive said the channel ran a spying network on staff, reading their emails and making them 'feel they were being watched', The Telegraph reports.

The news channel is also under fire for allegedly running a campaign to hack phone records of September 11, 2001 attack victims. "Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News. I knew it also housed a counter intelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie," Cooper was quoted, as saying by the paper.

Another former Fox News senior executive said staff was forced to operate under conditions reminiscent of 'Russia at the height of the Soviet era'.

Fox News has denied all the allegations terming them as 'baseless'.

Protecting News Corp.'s U.S. franchise is crucial because it includes the company's crown jewels, the 20th Century Fox movie studio and television holdings that include highly profitable cable networks and 27 broadcast stations.