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Hackgate update: Alleged ‘black ops’ denied by Fox News; investigation spreads to non-Murdoch newspapers; and a joint interview with Rupert and his ‘very tough’ wife

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Rupert and Wendi Murdoch arrive at their Fifth Avenue residence on July 20, 2011. (AP/Louis Lanzano)

As the FBI investigates allegations about News Corp. phone-hacking activities in the United States, British police officials told CNN that they are pursuing claims that the phone hacking went beyond Rupert Murdoch's News of the World. They are investigating reports of similar doings at the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, too. (Neither of which are Murdoch properties.)

"The Metropolitan Police have asked the British Information Commissioner's Office for its files from a probe into the work of a private investigator who sold illegally obtained information to a wide range of newspapers," CNN reported.

Meanwhile, the London police have put an additional 15 officers on the case--bringing the total number to 60.

You can check out other developments in the hack-gate saga after the jump.

• The Wall Street Journal, which has been maligned for its supportive coverage of Murdoch, published a story in today's paper critical of how News Corp. executives have managed the crisis.

"If you look at it from both sides of the Atlantic, they've done everything wrong that one could possibly do wrong ... a failure of Crisis Management 101," Harris Diamond, chief executive of the public relations firm Weber Shandwick, told the paper. "It's just baffling to watch the defense that's been made and then the failure of the defense to stand up."

• A member of the Lulzsec hacking group claims to have 4 gigabytes of emails from News International's Sun newspaper and the "royal family," and is planning to release them today. The group claimed responsibility for a stunt earlier this week in which visitors to the Sun website were redirected to a report falsely claiming that Rupert Murdoch had been found dead.

• While News Corp.'s stock rose sharply on the day of the Murdochs' appearance before Parliament--an indication that Wall Street was satisfied with their performance--some shareholders, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Felix Gillette, are hoping the company's assets, which have for decades "been operated at the whim" of Rupert Murdoch, come under tighter control.

• A former Fox News producer told the London Telegraph that the cable network had a "black ops" team that carried out "counterintelligence" on its enemies in the late-1990s. What people thought was a Fox News research department "was staffed by 15 researchers and had a guard at the door," Don Cooper, who helped launch Fox News in 1996, told the paper. "No one working there would engage in conversation."

A spokesman for Fox News vehemently denied the Telegraph report: "Each of these allegations is completely false. Dan Cooper was terminated six weeks after the launch of the Fox News Channel in 1996 and has peddled these lies for the past 15 years.

And the "brain room" referenced in the Telegraph piece "is nothing more than a creatively named research department," a Fox spokeswoman told The Cutline.

• In a rare joint interview with a Chinese television station on June 27, Rupert Murdoch said his wife, Wendi Deng, is "very tough." Indeed.

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