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US senator demands investigation into possible 9/11 phone-hacking

Highly-regarded senator Jay Rockefeller says the fallout from the News of the World raises ‘serious questions’.

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch could see his company face prosecution in the US for its operations in the UK.
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch could see his company face prosecution in the US for its operations in the UK.
Image: Stephen Chernin/AP

A HIGHLY-REGARDED US senator has demanded an investigation into whether News Corporation broke American laws in its British phone-hacking – and whether its US operations targeted victims of the September 11 attacks.

Jay Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate’s influential committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, says reports of how the July 7 bombing victims were targets of voicemail hacking raise questions about whether 9/11 victims were also targeted.

“I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans,” Rockefeller said in a statement given to the Daily Telegraph.

“I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate, to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated.”

He added:

If they did, the consequences will be severe.

Even if phone-hacking was not pursued by US-based titles, News Corp could still be prosecuted under American laws which forbid any US company’s foreign operations from bribing police or officials.

News Corp’s US operations include the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the TV news network Fox News.

Calls for a US probe came after the Daily Mirror claimed that a former NYPD officer, who since worked as a private detective, was contacted by the News of the World about a potential phone-hacking operation targeting the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

It said the detective had turned the offer down, believing the operation was insensitive and fearing that it would eventually become public.

Plans for News Corp to complete a full takeover of the British TV broadcaster BSkyB appear dead in the water, as all three major political parties in the UK are set to back a motion calling on News Corp and its founder Rupert Murdoch to drop their bid.

Shares in News Corp had dropped around 15 per cent of their value in the last week, as the firm’s largest selling newspaper closes and the bid for BSkyB flounders – prompting shareholders to sue the company for the lost value of their investments.

This morning The Sun has posted a video purporting to feature its source for the story that Gordon Brown’s son Fraser had cystic fibrosis – a story which led the former British Prime Minister to believe that he had also been a victim of phone-hacking.

Yesterday in the Dáil, Kerry South deputy Michael Healy-Rae called for an Irish investigation into the extent of any illegal activity by News International’s Irish titles.

Read: British government to pressure Murdoch to abandon BSkyB bid >

Read: Shareholders sue News Corp over hacking scandal >

Read: Gordon Brown’s bank account and medical records hacked >

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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