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It later took credit for shutting down News International’s corporate website.

Another hacking collective known as Anonymous claimed the cyberattack on The Times’ website.

The website breaches came just hours ahead of Murdoch’s testimony to British lawmakers and as James Murdoch _ chairman of BSkyB and chief executive of his father’s European and Asian operations _ appeared increasingly isolated following the departure of Brooks.

James Murdoch did not directly oversee the News of the World, but he approved payments to some of the paper’s most prominent hacking victims, including 700,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor.

James Murdoch said last week that he “did not have a complete picture” when he approved the payouts.

Rupert Murdoch is eager to stop the crisis from spreading to the United States, where many of his most lucrative assets _ including the Fox TV network, 20th Century Fox film studio, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post _ are based.

News Corp. on Monday appointed commercial lawyer Anthony Grabiner to run its Management and Standards Committee, which will deal with the phone hacking scandal. It said the committee will cooperate with all investigations on hacking and alleged police payments, and carry out its own inquiries.

Meanwhile, one of the first voices to blow the whistle on the phone hacking _ former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare _ was found dead Monday in Watford, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of London. Police said the death was being treated as unexplained but was not considered suspicious, according to Britain’s Press Association.

Hoare was quoted by The New York Times saying that phone hacking was widely used and even encouraged at the News of the World under Coulson.


Associated Press writer Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


Jill Lawless can be reached at and Cassandra Vinograd can be reached at