NEW YORK (AP) - The FBI has opened an investigation into
allegations that media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims, a law enforcement
official said Thursday.
The decision to investigate was made after U.S. Rep. Peter King,
a Republican, wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller demanding an
investigation, said the official, who spoke to The Associated Press
on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak
publicly. The FBI had received letters from King and other members
News Corp., based in New York, has been in crisis mode because
of a scandal that sank its U.K. newspaper the News of the World.
A rival newspaper reported last week that the News of the World
had hacked into the phone of U.K. teenage murder victim Milly
Dowler in 2002 and may have impeded a police investigation into her
More possible victims soon emerged: other child murder victims,
2005 London bombing victims, the families of dead soldiers and
former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The FBI's New York office didn't immediately comment Thursday.
There was no immediate response to a phone message left for News Corp. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan referred a call to
the Department of Justice, which declined immediate comment.
On Thursday, Murdoch caved in to pressure from Britain's
Parliament as he and his son James first refused, then agreed, to
appear next week before lawmakers investigating phone hacking and
bribery by employees of their newspaper empire.
Murdoch began his media career in Australia in 1952 after
inheriting The News newspaper after the death of his father, and he
has built News Corp. into one of the world's biggest media groups.
Assets include Fox News, the 20th Century Fox movie studio, The
Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and three newspapers in
Britain - down from four with the death of the News of the World.
Also Thursday, Scotland Yard said it had made its seventh arrest
related to the inquiry into phone hacking at the now-defunct
tabloid, whose closure was a doomed effort to keep alive a bid for
the highly profitable network British Sky Broadcasting. Police
didn't disclose the name of the arrested man.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)