Neither Rupert Murdoch, nor his son James, were told about the impending arrests of past and present Sun executives until the Saturday morning when they were taking place. The information was kept tightly within News Corp's Management & Standards Committee (MSC), run by Lord Grabiner, Will Lewis and Simon Greenberg, and whose operation is based at a separate building from the Wapping tower where the company's three newspapers are housed.
If you think that hard to believe, then consider this. The all-powerful MSC reckons that it cannot tip anybody off outside its ranks - because to do so could tempt whoever had been told to pass the details on. Nobody wants to see a Murdoch, or anybody else senior at the company exposed to the slightest charge of perverting the course of justice. So nobody - not Tom Mockridge, the CEO, or Dominic Mohan, the editor of the Sun knew: they just to have pick up the pieces.
Except, the MSC does not exist in isolation. Joel Klein, the laywer turned News Corp education supremo, did know what evidence the MSC had turned up in its ongoing trawl of some 300m emails: he sits on the company board. And Klein, and Grabiner and Lewis et al must take their cue from somewhere: it seems obvious from what has happened that they have been given an instruction (in broad terms) to get to the bottom of what has happened at Wapping, regardless of who might be affected. There are not many places such an instruction can come from: either News Corp's board or executives called Murdoch.
That marks a significant shift. Earlier this month, Mr Justice Vos complained about News Corp's policy of disclosure in the phone hacking civil cases at a High Court hearing earlier this month. The presiding judge said the News Corp subsidiary that publishes of the News of the World (News Group Newspapers) had made "an admission of sorts" as regards its initial responses to the allegations in which News Corp "put out public statements that it knew to be false", that it had "deliberately deceived the police" and had destroyed evidence of wrongdoing including "a very substantial number of emails" as well as computers.
Some while it dawned on current News Corp management that however important the phone hacking allegations were, what was more important was the company's response to them when they were first raised by the Guardian in 2009. The long period of denial, in which it was asserted by Rebekah Brooks, for example, that "The Guardian coverage, we believe, has substantially and likely deliberately misled the British public" is now viewed as a misjudgment. As James Murdoch himself told Parliament in November 2011 News Corp "moved into an aggressive defence too quickly".
The MSC investigation that led to the arrest of four Sun journalists and executives shows a certain fearlessness. Those arrested on suspicion of making corrupt payments to police officers were topped by Fergus Shanahan was Rebekah Brooks's deputy editor (and, rumour has it, was involved with the Sun on Sunday planning). Graham Dudman was the former managing editor. Chris Pharo, promoted under Brooks's editorship, was a key figure on the newsdesk. Sullivan, a veteran crime editor, was clearly the paper's principal day-to-day link with the police.
Those close to the MSC say it would now be a mistake to criticise the unit's seriousness in leading an in-house corporate clean up. "Judge us by our actions," is the mantra. It is unclear what else may emerge from its investigation, or indeed how serious the allegations are led to the arrests, but what is certain is that the News Corp-MSC is showing a certain indifference to the rest of the Wapping organisation. Indifference to its newsrooms, and indifference to the past. It may deem that to be necessary, but shows that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has reached the point where it has cut off emotional ties to Wapping.
Anybody who knows the Murdoch business will know how significant that is.