A U.S senator has called for an investigation into media baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., a sign that the phone hacking scandal that has rocked U.K. newspapers could spread to the United States.
The phone hacking revelations at the UK’s News of the World tabloid raises “serious questions” about whether the newspaper’s parent company, News Corp., had broken any U.S. laws, senator John Rockefeller said, according to Reuters.
"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, chairman of the committee on commerce, science and transportation, said in a statement on Tuesday. "If they did, the consequences will be severe."
News Corp. is based in New York and owns several major American media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Fox News and Harper Collins publishing.
Popular anger has spread in the UK over allegations that reporters and private investigators working for News of the World may have hacked the phone messages of thousands of people, from celebrities and royals to victims of brutal crimes and their family members.
News of the World, which was Britain’s oldest newspaper and the world's most widely read English-language paper, shut down on Sunday in the fallout from the phone hacking allegations.
Rockefeller, a Democrat, was the first major voice in the U.S. Congress to call for an investigation into the scandal, the BBC reports.
In a written statement, Rockefeller said he was concerned that hacking by News Corp. journalists may have extended to American targets, including victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.