FBI probes News Corp 9/11 hacking claims
This past year we have seen News Corporation expand into the Latino market – launching enterprises such as Fox News Latino and luring Latino advertising dollars.
This past week we have also seen how News Corporation faces an investigation abroad and in the U.S. for phone hacking among other civil liberties intrusions. Is this a warning to what is to come from Fox News Latino?
The FBI is investigating reports that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation tried to hack the phones of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.
US politicians have been calling for days for formal probes into whether News Corporation employees targeted the phone records of victims in the wake of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
“We are aware of the allegations and we are looking into it,” said a spokeswoman from the FBI’s New York office.
The FBI and the Justice Department refused to describe their inquiries as a formal investigation.
“The department does not comment specifically on investigations, though anytime we see evidence of wrongdoing, we take appropriate action,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said.
Earlier this week the UK’s Daily Mirror reported that News of the World journalists offered to pay a New York police officer to retrieve the private phone records of victims of the September 11 attacks.
Citing an unidentified source, the newspaper said journalists wanted the phone numbers of the dead as well as details of the calls they made and received in the days leading to the attacks.
The Mirror said the police officer, who now works as a private investigator, said at the time that he would turn down the request because of “how bad it would look,” the newspaper’s source was quoted as saying.
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King – a Democrat – had sent a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller urging him to look into the matter.
“The 9/11 families have suffered egregiously, but unfortunately they remain vulnerable against such unjustifiable parasitic strains. We can spare no effort or expense in continuing our support for them,” he said.
Democratic senators Jay Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer also urged Attorney-General Eric Holder 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 Mr Holder and Ms Schapiro.
“It is important to ensure that no United States laws were broken and no United States citizens were victimised,” the senators said.
They also pointed to charges that employees of Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation – a US-based company – had bribed British police as part of the hacking scandal, saying that it could violate a US law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
After decades as Britain’s political kingmaker, Mr Murdoch has seen his empire threatened by a wave of public outrage over the hacking of voicemails belonging to people including a murdered girl and the families of dead troops.
In the United States, Murdoch’s Fox News Channel is seen by many Democrats as a tool of their Republican rivals, while the network denies any bias.