The watchdog group Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling on Congress to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for evidence that the company’s sprawling phone hacking scandal reached the United States.
CREW’s letter to Congress follows allegations that the company’s now defunct News Of The World tabloid hacked into the phones of murder victims and terrorism victims, and even several prominent British politicians like former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
CREW sent a letter Monday to Sens. John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), who are all ranking members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, respectively. The group asked that Congress investigate allegations whether in addition to its actions in the U.K., News Of The World hacked the voicemails of 9/11 victims.
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mirror, a former New York City police officer who works as a private investigator claimed that News Of The World reporters contacted him to get phone records of dead victims of September 11 for the days leading up to the attacks. “[The investigator’s] presumption was that they wanted the information so they could hack into the relevant voicemails, just like it has been shown they have done in the U.K.,” a Mirror source said.
“Congress should immediately investigate whether and to what extent News Of The World journalists hacked or attempted to hack the voicemails of American terrorist victims, politicians, and celebrities,” CREW’s letter said, “as well as whether journalists working for any other News Corporation media outlet in the United States engaged in such tactics.”
News Corp. owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post in the United States.
News Of The World published its last edition on Sunday, after public outrage over revelations about a widespread hacking scheme by the paper. In one case, in 2002 reporters for the paper hacked into the cell phone of a 13-year old girl who had been kidnapped and murdered, and listened to and deleted voicemails left for her by family members from when she was still missing.
New allegations Monday suggest that these tactics were also used by other news outlets under News International, the U.K. arm of News Corp — including The Sun and The Sunday Times.
The Guardian reported that over a period of ten years, journalists from News International targeted former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, “attempting to access his voicemail and obtaining information from his bank account and legal file as well as his family’s medical records.” Read the full report here.
Several Scotland Yard police officers have also been accused of taking bribes from News Of The World reporters.