The government of British Prime Minister David Cameron, perhaps Washington's closest ally, is reeling with the arrest today of Cameron's former media adviser in the unfolding News of the World phone-tapping scandal.
Andy Coulson, who served as Cameron's top communications adviser from 2007 to January 2011, and previously as the editor of the Rupert Murdoch-owned highest-circulation British tabloid from 2003-2007, was arrested "on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications" and "on suspicion of corruption allegations," according to a statement from Scotland Yard.
Cameron, scrambling to try to get out ahead of the scandal's widening criminal scope, summoned journalists to a news conference at Downing Street today in which he took full responsibility for the decision to hire Coulson back in 2007. (You can watch ITN video of Cameron's "hastily arranged" news conference below, as the New York Times' Sarah Lyall and Alan Cowell put it.) Cameron also announced two public inquiries into different dimensions of the scandal, including allegations that the News of the World paid bribes to British police for information.
But Cameron's efforts to distance himself from the scandal so far haven't made much headway, thanks largely to the Conservative Party leader's close personal ties with several top executives in the Murdoch empire. And though he acknowledged that a past police investigation of police bribe-taking went nowhere, Cameron insisted that wouldn't be the case for the newly initiated inquiries.Read More »from Cameron government, shaken by expanding News of the World arrests, orders probes