Holder open to meeting Sept 11 families on hacking

WASHINGTON Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:43pm EDT

Attorney General Eric Holder listen to a question at a news conference to announce Medicare Fraud Strike Force law enforcement actions in Washington, February 17, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young

Attorney General Eric Holder listen to a question at a news conference to announce Medicare Fraud Strike Force law enforcement actions in Washington, February 17, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Eric Holder is willing to meet the families of people killed in the September 11 attacks who are concerned about reports that News Corp journalists may have tried to get victims' phone records, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into a report by Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper that reporters with the rival News of the World offered to pay a New York police officer for private phone records of some victims of the al Qaeda attacks on the United States in 2001.

The Mirror report, citing an unidentified source, has yet to be independently verified but already has fueled U.S. emotions over the wider phone hacking scandal that has consumed Britain and rocked Rupert Murdoch's News Corp media empire.

New York attorney Normal Siegel, who represents September 11 family members in three legal cases, sent letters on Monday requesting meetings with Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and U.S. Representative John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

"The Attorney General has met with 9/11 family members on a number of occasions and would welcome the opportunity to meet with them to discuss any concerns they would like to bring to the department's attention," said spokesman Matthew Miller.

A U.S. law enforcement official told Reuters on Monday there was no basis so far for police in New York to open an investigation into the claims.

During an inquiry by members of Britain's Parliament in London on Tuesday, Murdoch said there was nothing to suggest his reporters had hacked the phones of September 11 victims.

"We have no evidence of that at all," he said.

His son James Murdoch, News Corp's deputy chief operating officer, told the inquiry it would be appalling if such actions took place.

"Those are incredibly serious allegations and they have come to light very recently," he said. "We do not know the veracity of those allegations and are trying to understand precisely what they are and any investigations."

Murdoch shut his top-selling Sunday newspaper, the 168-year-old tabloid News of the World, as a result of the hacking scandal. He also dropped a strategically important buyout bid for broadcaster BSkyB.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington and Daniel Trotta in New York; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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Comments (4)
satori23 wrote:
Those with keen eye had seen Murdoch’s exercise of media power. His outlets would shout 9/11! each time he felt the need to protect his interests.


Something wonderful is about to happen.

Jul 19, 2011 7:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JoeMulick wrote:
If Eric Holder wanted to meet my family, I would tell him to get lost.

Jul 20, 2011 1:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
indyinasia wrote:
The Murdoch – 9/11 connection is worth looking into.

Maybe the Sept 11 families will publicly press Attorney General Eric Holder for an investigation into the 9/11 time-frame phone records of:

Rupert Murdoch
Dick Chenney
George Bush
Larry Silverstein
Donald Rumsfeld
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Douglas Feith
George Tenet
Robert Mueller
et al.

Jul 20, 2011 8:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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