[JURIST] Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives [official websites] called on US agencies Wednesday to open an investigation into whether journalists working for the media company News Corporation (News Corp.) [media website] and its subsidiaries violated US laws by hacking into the mobile phones of 9/11 [JURIST backgrounder] victims. The requests are in response to an article [text] published in the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror [official website], claiming that journalists working for the company offered to pay a New York City police officer in exchange for victims’ phone information and call details. US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) [official website] sent a letter [text] to Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] requesting an investigation into whether the allegations are true. Representative Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter [text] to the FBI urging an investigation and stating that, if true, News Corp.’s actions would merit felony charges for corruption of public officials and wiretapping. King stated that any guilty parties “should receive the harshest sanctions available under law” and called for the protection of 9/11 families.
It is revolting to imagine that members of the media would seek to compromise the integrity of a public official for financial gain in the pursuit of yellow journalism. The 9/11 families have suffered egregiously, but unfortunately they remain vulnerable against such unjustifiable parasitic strains. We can spare no effort or expense in continuing our support for them.
US Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) [official websites] sent a letter [text] to Holder and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] asking both to investigate the wiretapping allegations and to determine whether News. Corp violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) [background materials, PDF] by using bribery to collect private information in the UK. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) wrote a similar letter [text, PDF] to Holder and the SEC.
These requests follow recent reports that journalists for the now-defunct British tabloid, News of the World [media website], a News Corp. subsidiary, paid London police officers for private information, including telephone records, to use in various news stories. The company could face additional charges under the accounting provisions of the FPCA for not properly recording any illicit transactions in their books.