LONDON  - Britain’s independent police watchdog launched an investigation on Friday into claims that a senior officer passed information to Rupert Murdoch’s News International during a probe into phone hacking at one of its newspapers. The inquiry is examining whether details passed by the unnamed officer to an executive at News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s News Corp, during the police’s 2006 investigation constituted a criminal offence or misconduct. London’s Metropolitan Police (MPS) launched that investigation when senior royal aides reported their suspicions.