News Corp. tells Wall Street Journal the allegation is based on “anonymous speculation”
The U.S. Justice Department is preparing subpoenas for the first U.S. investigation into the phone hacking scandal engulfing News Corp., the Wall Street Journal reported.
The News Corp.-owned Journal reported that the investigations will focus on whether News Corp. employeees bribed foreign officials and hacked into the phones of 9/11 victims. Senior Justice Department officials would have to approve issuing the subpoenas, which hasn't yet happened, the paper reported.
London's Daily Mirror tabloid has reported that a source said a private investigator was approached about hacking into the phones, but turned down the job. The FBI has begun an investigation into the 9/11 allegations.
The Justice Department, meanwhile, has said it is looking into allegations that News Corp.'s News of the World tabloid bribed British police.
The Journal quoted a person "close to News Corp." saying the U.S. subpoenas are part of "a fishing expedition with no evidence to support it."
A spokeswoman for the company added: "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."
Adding to News Corp.'s domestic woes: The FBI plans to contact actor Jude Law about his claims that his phone was hacked by the company's employees while he was in the U.S., the BBC reports. News Corp. has said there is no foundation for the actor's claim and called it "deliberately mischievous."
News Corp. has braced for the many intersecting U.K. investigations into the hacking to expand to the U.S., where its holdings include Twentieth Century Fox, Fox News Channel, the Fox broadcast network, as well as the Journal.
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks all testified before a Parliamentary committee this week.