Rupert Murdoch has rowed back from claims that the investigation into phone hacking and corruption is "totally incompetent" but said Scotland Yard's probe appears "excessive" and has "gone on too long".
Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz wrote to Rupert Murdoch asking him to comment on the secret recording.
In a reply released today, Mr Murdoch said:
I accept that I used the wrong adjectives to voice my frustration over the course of the police investigation.
But I had been hearing for months about pre-dawn raids undertaken by as many as 14 police officers, and that some employees and their families were left in limbo for as much as a year and a half between arrest and charging decisions.
I have no basis to question the competence of the police and I and our newspapers respect the work that they do every day to protect the public.
But I do question whether, over the last two years, the police have approached these matters with an appropriate sense of proportion, and with regard for the human cost of delay.
Rupert Murdoch has reneged on claims the investigation into phone hacking and corruption is "totally incompetent" but said Scotland Yard's probe appears "excessive" and has "gone on too long".
In a letter responding to demands from MPs that the media magnate explain comments he made about police at a staff meeting, he conceded using the "wrong adjectives" to describe his frustration at events over the last two years.
But the News Corp boss also questioned whether officers had "approached these matters with an appropriate sense of proportion" and said it would be unfair to suggest his company had impeded the Metropolitan Police's inquiries.
Mr Murdoch was apparently recorded describing the treatment of journalists who had been arrested as a "disgrace" during a meeting in March and saying that police had been told to obtain court orders to get information, rather than the company offering up material as it had done previously.