Meghan Markle

Sun investigator says he illegally obtained information about Meghan

Dan Hanks claims he compiled 90-page report about actor early in her relationship with Prince Harry

Dan Hanks told the New York Times that the Sun made him sign a letter stating he would not use any illegal methods to locate people or do background checks


A private investigator employed by the Sun has said he illegally accessed the Duchess of Sussex’s private information shortly after she met Prince Harry. Dan Hanks, who lives in Los Angeles, told the website Byline Investigates that he compiled a 90-page report on the future member of the royal family in October 2016, shortly after the tabloid newspaper first became aware of her relationship with the prince.

The information sent to the Sun’s US editor allegedly included relatives’ phone numbers, background information on her ex-husband, and also Meghan’s personal social security number. Although much of the information could have been obtained legally, Hanks claims he took it from a database that could not legally be used for journalistic purposes.

Hanks told the New York Times that the Sun made him sign a letter stating he would not use any illegal methods to locate people or do background checks: “Then the reporters came back to me and said, ‘But if you want to get work, keep doing what you’ve been doing,’ with a nod and a wink.”

The Sun strongly denies this and said it had a written agreement with Hanks that he would not break the law while working for the news outlet and did not know he had done so. The newspaper’s publisher said they stopped using Hanks’ services in 2017 after he was sent to jail after being found guilty of extortion in an unrelated case.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been at war with the British tabloids over the last two years, with Meghan successfully suing the Mail on Sunday after it published a private letter she sent to her estranged father. Their interview with Oprah Winfrey has also started a national conversation about racism in the British media that has claimed the jobs of both Piers Morgan and the boss of the Society of Editors, the media industry body.

Prince Harry is pursuing phone hacking legal cases against the publishers of both the Sun and the Mirror.

A spokesperson for the couple said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feel that today is an important moment of reflection for the media industry and society at large, as this investigative report shows that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships.

“They are grateful to those working in media who stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before.”

Byline Investigates, which tracked down Hanks, is run by Graham Johnson, a freelance journalist who was himself convicted for phone hacking but now works to expose other examples of historical wrongdoing in the media. Byline said it paid Hanks to obtain the archive reports on Meghan which form the basis of its story.

A spokesperson for News UK, publisher of the Sun, said: “In 2016, The Sun made a legitimate request of Mr Hanks to research contact details and addresses for Meghan Markle and possible relatives using legal databases which he had a license to use. He was paid $250.

“Mr Hanks was not tasked to do anything illegal or breach any privacy laws – indeed he was instructed clearly in writing to act lawfully and he signed a legal undertaking that he would do so. The information he provided could not and did not raise any concerns that he had used illegal practices to obtain the information.

“At no time did the Sun request the social security number of Meghan Markle, nor use the information he provided for any unlawful practice. The Sun abides by all laws and regulations and maintains strict protocols in relation to the obtaining of information from third parties. Strict compliance is in place to cover all our reporting.”

Read more

Jeff Sessions claims he’s clueless about his DOJ’s snooping on Congress

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.

Watchdog investigates seizure of Democrats’ phone data

The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.

“Next time I’m in the White House”

Donald Trump has appeared to drop his strongest hint yet at another presidential run in 2024, responding to news of his two-year ban from Facebook on Friday by saying he would not invite Mark Zuckerberg to dinner “next time I’m in the White House”.

No evidence UFOs were alien – but doesn’t rule it out

US intelligence authorities have not found any evidence that unidentified flying objects (UFOs) seen by navy pilots in recent years were otherworldly alien spacecraft– but apparently did not rule it out, either.