Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday said he will meet later this month with family members of victims of the September 11 attacks, in order to assure them he is “seriously” concerned about allegations that News Corporation reporters tried to hack the phones of their loved ones.
Holder said he plans to meet with the families on August 24 in the aftermath of a scandal involving News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper in London. The tabloid closed for good after allegations that its reporters hacked into cell-phone and voice-mail accounts of a young murder victim, politicians, and the royal family, and bribed police to get phone records of victims of the 9/11 attacks.
“I’ll try to reassure them that this is something that we are taking seriously,” Holder said during a news conference.
“I’ve met with the 9/11 families on a number of occasions,” Holder added. “They requested to meet with me again, and I thought that was appropriate, given the nature of the charges. And so we will have a dialogue. I certainly want to hear what they have to say with regard to their concerns. And to the extent that I can share information with them, I will.”
Lawmakers have asked Holder and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro to investigate whether News Corporation broke any U.S. laws.
“The allegations, if true, may constitute a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits corrupt payments intended to influence any act or decision of a foreign official,” Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wrote in a letter to Holder last month.
The FBI has reportedly launched an investigation into whether employees of News Corporation—which also owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post—hacked the voice mails of 9/11 victims. An FBI spokesperson could not be reached for comment late on Wednesday.
Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, would not confirm on Wednesday whether Justice is conducting an investigation.