FBI Opens News Corp. Hacking Probe, U.K. Executive Resigns

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) just initiated a probe to determine if <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/news-corp-world-trade-center-9-11-victim-hacking-scandal">News Corp. did, or attempted to, hack into the calls and telephone records of the September 11th victims and their families. News Corp. has also seen its first significant resignation following the hacking debacle that shocked and revolted the international community.

The tabloid apparently ignored privacy and security issues and broke into the cell phones of a number of celebrities; the phone used by David Cameron, British Prime Minister; and sadly, the phone of 13-year-old murder victim, Milly Dowler. The hack to Milly’s phone made headlines over the tragic false hope it gave to her grieving family that, perhaps, Milly was, miraculously, still alive.

As if that were not enough, the tabloid sought to target the telephones of the deceased victims of the tragic terrorist attacks in Manhattan’s World Trade Center and involved deleting existing messages to make room for more messages; exactly what was done to Milly’s telephone.

Now, Rebekah Brooks, 43, soon-to-be former CEO of News International, the United Kingdom’s newspaper unit, is resigning as the FBI probe was announced, said The Wall Street Journal.

The FBI probe will also look into a British press report’s allegations concerning News Corp. employees bribing or seeking to bribe police officials to gain this illegal access, said The Journal. A former policeman, working as a private investigator, as well as an anonymous source, said that reporters sought victim numbers and call log details for just prior to when the Twin Towers fell, said CBS News, recently.

Officials familiar with the probe said the FBI would not limit the probe to the paper’s employees or agents, said The Journal.

The FBI investigation was opened yesterday and followed Wednesday’s request by Representative Peter King (Representative-New York), head of the House Homeland Security Committee; Representative King’s district is Long Island, noted The Journal. Many of those killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks resided in King’s district.

Representative King asked FBI director Robert Mueller, to “immediately commence an investigation of News Corporation pertaining to recent media reports alleging that journalists working at the News of the World, a News Corp. subsidiary, attempted to obtain phone records of victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 through bribery and unauthorized wiretapping,” quoted The Journal, citing King’s letter.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive; his son, James, deputy chief operating officer at News Corp., and Brook have agreed to testify next week at a Parliamentary hearing to answer questions about the hacking scandal, said The Journal; the three will not be under oath. Rupert Murdoch initially declined the request, but had a change of heart when he was told a summons would be issued, said The Journal. Parliament’s hearings concern if News International executives misled that committee previously. Questioning, said the Journal, is expected to be “tough.”

Robert Menendez (Democrat-New Jersey) also asked for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, said Politico and asked British authorities to share information they receive concern hacking of Americans, said The Journal. Senator Frank Lautenberg (Democrat-New Jersey) asked the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate Murdoch’s media concerns on behalf of New Jersey victims of 9/11 and Senators Jay Rockefeller (Democrat-West Virginia) and Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California) wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro seeking a probe into if News Corp. subsidiary employees tried to bribe British police and if Americans’ phones were hacked, said Politico previously.

The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp.

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