The House of Commons’ Home Affairs Committee blasted Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in a 68-page report out today about Scotland Yard’s response to allegations of phone hacking at News Of The World. Looking back at an investigation that began in 2005, the report says: “We deplore the response of News International to the original investigation into hacking. It is almost impossible to escape the conclusion… that they were deliberately trying to thwart a criminal investigation. “We are astounded by the length of time it has taken for News International to cooperate with the police but we are appalled that this is advanced (by police) as a reason for failing to mount a robust investigation.”

As an example of the News Corp’s “carefully crafted responses” to investigators the report notes that former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks only denied knowing about hacking during the period when she was editor of NOTW. As for allegations that paper paid police for information, “she did not say that she had no knowledge of specific payments but that she had not intended to give the impression that she had knowledge of specific cases.” Brooks was arrested on Sunday for her role in the hacking scandal and resigned last week.

The report recommends changes in government policy to make cell phones more secure but adds that the committee “may have to return to this issue in the near future” since “there are further developments coming out on a regular basis.”