- (Reuters/Keith Bedford)
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is now being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) after serious concerns arose that the corporation's employees may have tried to hack into the phones of 9/11 victims and their families, it was revealed Thursday.
The FBI were prompted to open a preliminary probe after several lawmakers wrote letters questioning whether it was possible that reporters working for Murdoch's media company may have sought access to phone records of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to sources at the FBI's New York City office.
Murdoch and his company are under intense scrutiny for actions involving the now-defunct News of the World tabloid. Reporters at the paper are said to have accessed the voice mail accounts of victims who died in London's terrorist attacks in 2005.
A law enforcement official who asked to remain anonymous told the Los Angeles Times that “after reviewing the letters and their allegations, and after consultation with the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York, we are proceeding."
“We'll be looking at anyone acting for or on behalf of News Corp., from the top down to janitors,” another law enforcement official told CNN.
New York Democrat Rep. Peter T. King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is one lawmaker who penned a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller asking for the inquiry.
The investigation was expected to be handled jointly by two F.B.I. squads in the bureau’s New York office, a source told the New York Times.
News International is News Corporation's British newspaper group, and its employees are also said to have made payments to police officers to obtain phone records of victims of the London terrorist attacks.
It was reported Thursday that Murdoch and his son, James, would testify next week before at British parliamentary hearing investigating the case. Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, is also expected to join them at the hearing.
The case initially gained momentum in England when News of the World admitted that some of its staff had illegally tampered with the voice mail of 13-year-old Milly Dowler. Dowler was abducted and murdered in 2002.