Report: FBI to Launch Investigation into News Corp. Phone Hacking of 9-11 Victims

The Associated Press is reporting that the FBI has launched an investigation into News Corp. over allegations that their journalists attempted to hack into the voicemails of 9-11 victims.

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 of Congress.

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.

So far, the 9-11 victims allegation is just that. I haven’t seen actual proof that this occurred. But considering that News of the World reporters hacked into the voicemails of Millie Dowler, a teenage girl abducted and murdered in 2002, I don’t see them having any compunctions against this kind of behavior, and indeed it would fit with a pattern.

I hope that cell phone and voicemail security becomes a part of these investigations. It seemed extremely easy for News Corp., or any media outlet, to actually pull off this hacking.

The Justice Department is reportedly going to make a press statement on this investigation later today.

News Corp. has been in crisis over the past several weeks as more information about the phone hacking scandal in Britain leaked out. They already shut down News of the World after 168 years in service, and they abandoned a bid to but British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), Britain’s largest pay broadcaster. But an investigation in the US is a whole different kettle of fish. And the attachment to 9-11 is sure to resonate.

…Another question here is whether stateside News Corp. properties, like Fox News, ever hacked into anyone’s phone. Leslie Savan says it’s a strong possibility.

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