By JENNIFER EPSTEIN
July 18, 2011
Relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks have asked to meet with the FBI and top members of the Obama administration about allegations reporters from one of Rupert Murdoch’s British papers tried to hack the cell phone accounts of victims.
In letters sent Monday to Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, a lawyer representing some victims’ families is asking for meetings to discuss a report that journalists from the now-defunct News of the World asked a New York-based private investigator to help them gather information from victims’ phones.
The FBI has initiated an informal probe into the allegations, which were first reported by the Daily Mirror.
“We commend the FBI for opening a preliminary inquiry into this serious issue and we are requesting a meeting to ascertain the scope, goals and timetable of the inquiry,” the letter to Mueller said, Reuters reported. The FBI’s press office declined to comment.
The lawyer representing the victims’ relatives, Norman Siegel, told the wire service that his “clients are troubled about the allegation of potential hacking and they are particularly upset that there now exists an allegation that a newspaper would seek to illegally obtain information about their loved ones.”
“I tried in the letter not to accuse anyone, especially News Corp, of anything yet because you don’t want a media frenzy accusing someone if the facts aren’t there. We want to find out what the truth is,” he said.