The phone hacking scandal that prompted Rupert Murdoch to shutter one U.K. tabloid and withdraw a bid to take control of the satellite TV broadcaster BSkyB, appears to be hitting U.S. shores, with Senator Jay Rockefeller calling for an inquiry in this country.
"I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans," Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, was quoted as saying in The London Evening Standard. "If they did, the consequences will be severe."
Murdoch decided to close News of the World last week after allegations came out a few days earlier that a private investigator working on behalf of the newspaper interfered with a police investigation by breaking into the cell phone of a missing teen and deleting voice mail messages nine years ago, before the teen was found murdered.
After that, the scandal widened with reports that the phone voice mails of families of other murdered children, victims of the 2005 London bombings, and soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan may also have been hacked by Murdoch-owned publications.
Today, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to look into whether victims of the September 11 attacks were among those whose cell phones were targeted.
Officials in the U.K. are also looking into allegations that Murdoch papers bribed police for information on news subjects, even possibly using cell phone-tracking technology to find the exact whereabouts of people.
Murdoch's News Corp. has paid settlements to some celebrities and other high-profile people who allegedly had been targeted, but news that phones of regular people who had been killed may have been targeted has caused outrage across England and in the U.S.
Today, Murdoch's News Corp. said executives were withdrawing the bid to acquire the 61 percent of BSkyB that they don't already own.