9/11 Families to Meet With Attorney General on Phone-Hacking Scandal

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2011  |  Updated 3:57 PM EDT
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9/11 Families to Meet with Attorney General

Associated Press

James Murdoch, left, and Rupert Murdoch, right, giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in the House of Commons in central London on the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

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Attorney General Eric Holder has agreed to meet Aug. 24 with some of the 9/11 family members regarding the FBI inquiry into the allegations surrounding Rupert Murdoch's media empire, a lawyer said Wednesday.

According to a London tabloid's story based on unnamed sources, a former New York police officer-turned-private investigator said he'd been contacted by journalists from Murdoch's News of the World who offered to pay him to retrieve private phone records of Sept. 11 victims in the United States. The story said the investigator turned down the proposal.

The U.S.-based parent company of Murdoch's operations, News Corp., has said that "we have not seen any evidence to suggest there was any hacking of 9/11 victim's phones, nor has anybody corroborated what are clearly very serious allegations.

"The story arose when an unidentified person speculated to the Daily Mirror about whether it happened. That paper printed the anonymous speculation, which has since mushroomed in the broader media with no substantiation."

New York attorney Norman Siegel said that he and about 20 family members he represents will make some recommendations to the Justice Department regarding possible actions the government could take to investigate the story.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler confirmed the meeting date.

Siegel said the group will listen to what the attorney general has to say regarding the probe the Justice Department is conducting and that "we will cooperate with DOJ and the FBI."

Jim Riches, whose 29-year-old firefighter son was killed on 9/11 at New York's World Trade Center, said that he will attend the Aug. 24 meeting, because "we want to find out if anyone's phones were hacked, the progress of the investigation and what they intend to do if they find somebody accountable."

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