[QODLink]
Americas
FBI probes 9/11 'phone hacking' allegations
US launches investigation into reports News Corp journalists sought access to 2001 attack victims' phone records.
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2011 02:55

Investigations are progressing into the US operations of News Corporation after the UK phone hacking scandal, US Attorney General Eric Holder has said.

"There have been members of Congress in the United States who have asked us to investigate those same allegations and we are progressing in that regard using the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies," Holder told reporters in Australia on Friday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Thursday it was examining allegations that Rupert Murdoch's organisation may have tried to hack into the phone records of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

"We are aware of the allegations and are looking into it," said Peter Donald, an FBI spokesman in New York.

The FBI inquiry was prompted by a call by US congressman Peter King of New York to investigate the hacking claims, first reported by Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.

A former New York police officer told the paper that he had been contacted by the News of the World, the Murdoch-owned British paper at the heart of the phone hacking scandal that was shut down last week, and offered payment for retrieving the phone records of victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Democratic senators Jay Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer had also urged the attorney general and Mary Schapiro, chief of the Wall Street watchdog Securities and Exchange Commission, to see if US laws had been broken.

"The reported allegations against News Corporation are very serious, indicate a pattern of illegal activity, and involve thousands of potential victims," the politicians said in a letter to Holder and Schapiro.

But US Senator John McCain, who sits on the committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said he had not heard any evidence of News Corporation wrongdoing in the US.

The FBI routinely makes preliminary inquiries into issues raised by legislators and others to determine whether a full-blown investigation is needed.

News Corporation has not commented on the FBI inquiry.

But in an interview with the News Corporation-owned Wall Street Journal, Murdoch defended the company's handling of the phone hacking scandal.

While the company had made "minor mistakes", it had dealt with the crisis "extremely well in every way possible", he said.

Murdoch said an independent inquiry by a "distinguished non-employee" would investigate "every charge of improper conduct".

"We think it's important to absolutely establish our integrity in the eyes of the public. I felt that it's best just to be as transparent as possible."

 

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.