Phone Hacking Scandal May Stretch to 9/11 Victims

British Prime Minister David Cameron says he will look into whether 9/11 victims were targeted in the phone hacking scandal.

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation
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Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation

The Daily Mirror newspaper had claimed that some journalists had approached a private investigator in the U.S. to try to access the phone data of some of the victims of 9/11. Cameron told lawmakers Wednesday that he will look into the claims.

Cameron said Wednesday that a "firestorm" was engulfing parts of the media and police, and those who had committed offenses must be prosecuted.

Also, British lawmakers were poised to demand that media baron Rupert Murdoch give up his goal of taking over a lucrative U.K. broadcaster, pressed to act by the fallout from a phone hacking and bribery scandal at Murdoch's U.K. newspapers.

But a defiant mood was evident at one of his papers, The Sun tabloid, which slapped the headline "Brown Wrong" across its front page in response to claims by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the paper had obtained confidential medical records of his younger son.

In an about-face, Cameron put his party's weight behind an opposition Labour Party motion up for a vote Wednesday that declares that Murdoch's News Corp.'s bid for full control of British Sky Broadcasting would not be in the national interest.

The motion doesn't carry legal force, but with the three main parties in support, it looms as a powerful expression of the tide running against Murdoch's newspapers.

Murdoch's hope to gain control of the 61 percent of BSkyB shares that his News Corp. doesn't yet own has already been delayed for several months while the British government's Competition Commission reviews monopoly concerns.

Outrage has grown and Murdoch's News Corp.'s share price has fallen since a report last week that the News of the World tabloid hacked the phone of teenage murder victim Milly Dowler in, followed by claims of intrusion into private records by The Sun and The Sunday Times.

Murdoch has already shut down the 168-year-old News of the World and has come to London to direct the company's efforts to get on top of its problems.

Cameron, speaking in parliament, says his former communications chief Andy Coulson should be prosecuted if he lied in the newspaper phone hacking scandal.

Cameron told lawmakers Wednesday that a "firestorm" was engulfing parts of the media and British police, and those who had committed offenses must be prosecuted.

He said the media also needs to be more transparent.

A report Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, which is part of News Corp., said that Murdoch has met with advisers over recent weeks to discuss possible options including the sale of the remaining British newspapers — The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

The Journal, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation, said there didn't appear to be any buyers, given the poor economics of the newspaper division.

Brown accused Murdoch's papers, including The Sun and The Sunday Times, of obtaining his confidential bank accounts, tax records and even health information about his son, Fraser, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, using fraudulent, criminal means. But, the newspaper insisted it learned of the boy's ailment from the father of another child with the same condition, and that it contacted the Browns, who consented to the story.

"We are not aware of Mr. Brown, nor any of his colleagues to whom we spoke, making any complaint about it at the time," The Sun said.

Its coverage included picture of Brown and Murdoch standing together, both grinning.