The FBI is investigating claims that the families of victims of the 11 September attacks were hacked by News Corporation journalists or third-parties hired by the company.
The agency was asked to investigate allegations of hacking by Peter King, the Republican chairman of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, in light of the phone hacking scandal that has dominated UK headlines for the past week.
"We're aware of certain allegations pertaining to a possible hacking by News Corp personnel and we're looking into those charges," FBI spokesman Jim Margolin told Bloomberg.
It is claimed that the hacking of phones was endemic among journalists at News International and the private investigators they hired. Crime victims in the UK, including the families of the London terrorist bombings, have been named as probable targets.
The activities in the UK are being investigated by two parliamentary inquiries, but if similar acts occurred to US citizens the legal authorities have to get involved.
"The conduct itself would be indefensible," said Ronald S. Safer, managing partner of US law firm Schiff Hardin LLP. "In federal law, you don't need a complainant. The crime is against the US and not an individual."
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