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Rebekah Brooks arrest: phone-hacking scandal isn't going to fade

Many media observers predicted that the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal would peter out. But Rebekah Brooks's arrest today indicate the inquiry is still very much alive.

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In this 2011 photo, former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks leaves a hotel in central London.

Sang Tan/AP/File

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The re-arrest of Rebekah Brooks this morning suggests little official let-up in a British tabloid phone-hacking scandal that captured the world’s attention last July and threatens to drag Prime Minister David Cameron into questions about his ties to Ms. Brooks and other journalists. 

The scandal proved to be a takedown of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch and thwarted, at the last minute, his efforts to take over Britain’s most lucrative cable TV operation, an outcome that would have given his global empire unprecedented power in the United Kingdom.  

Ms. Brooks, former chief executive of the Rupert Murdoch-owned News International, was arrested by Scotland Yard at her home near Oxfordshire. Her husband, Charlie Brooks – a racehorse trainer who is an old, close friend of Mr. Cameron – was also arrested, along with four others. Mr. Brooks and Mr. Cameron are horse enthusiasts and school friends who still socialize together.  

The arrests came just as Mr. Cameron, whose private residence is close to the Brooks home, headed to the United States for a state visit with US President Obama.

“Brooks's husband is a close friend of the [prime minister] and so far [Cameron] has been Teflon-plated,” says James Curran, director of the media studies center at the University of London.

Today’s arrests were for "suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice” – in layman's terms, an organized coverup.

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