Thursday, August 25, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder tells 9/11 relatives he's probing Rupert Murdoch for possible hacking

Thursday, August 25th 2011, 4:00 AM

Relatives of 9/11 victims speak to reporters after meeting with AG Eric Holder on Wednesday.
Elisa Miller for News
Relatives of 9/11 victims speak to reporters after meeting with AG Eric Holder on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder assured 9/11 relatives yesterday he's committed to investigating if reporters from Rupert Murdoch's media empire hacked victims' mobile phones.

The top federal prosecutor held a closed-door meeting with seven relatives at Department of Justice headquarters, while others joined via teleconference.

Holder called the prospect of hacking "disgusting" and "unconscionable," according to retired city deputy fire chief Jim Riches, whose firefighter son Jimmy died at the World Trade Center.

"I wouldn't want to be one of the hackers," Riches said later.

But Riches, who nearly died of a lung disorder after working recovery at Ground Zero, noted the federal government also said the air there was safe to breathe.

"We believe them for now, but we're 'show me' New Yorkers," Riches said. "We want to see the acts. We're not gonna just take your word for it. We want to see it done, and if not we'll be back."

Holder and FBI probers who briefed relatives withheld details of the investigation, which they called preliminary, relatives said.

During the News Corp. hacking scandal that brought down the British paper The News of the World, another English tabloid, the Daily Mirror, reported that phone hacking may have targeted 9/11 victims. Murdoch's News Corp. also owns the New York Post.

Investigators have not asked the families to provide victims' cell phone numbers. Their lawyer, Norman Siegel, asked Holder to do so.

Siegel asked the FBI to scour post-attack press reports for suspicious private information, and also investigate whether computer hacking occurred.

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