With the phone hacking scandal now a transatlantic affair, this Scrapbook live blog will keep track of developments threatening the US portions of Murdoch’s sprawling empire. There are three main ways into this story for US media and lawmakers:

  • Allegations that victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families were hacked by News International reporters
  • With Rebekah Brooks admitting that News International had paid police for information, there may be scope for an investigation of News Corporation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Having taken over Larry King’s prime-time talk show slot on CNN, possible links to Piers Morgan – relating to his period as editor of the News of the World and Daily Mirror – could provide an opportunity for Murdoch’s own outlets to widen scrutiny

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  • Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the FCC, has used a congressional hearing to make very clear that phone hacking is illegal in the US — it is covered by both state and federal law. He has also said that any incidents involving US citizens should be investigated thoroughly.
  • Ahead of the joint hearing taking place in about an hour’s time, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) has added his his voice to the choir calling for an inquiry into the conduct of News Corp in the US. Braley is a key member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
  • According to a spokesman for Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), the issue will be raised in a joint meeting of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology today (11:00 EST, 16:00 BST). Bono Mack has contacted phone companies to ask how they safeguard customers against phone hacking.
  • Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Va.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) have written a joint letter to the Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, calling for an investigation: “The reported allegations against News Corporation are very serious, indicate a pattern of illegal activity, and involve thousands of potential victims. It is important to ensure that no US laws were broken and no US citizens victimised.”
  • Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have also written similar lettersto the DOJ and the SEC, while Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has contacted Robert Mueller, director of the FBI: “If these allegations are proven true, the conduct would merit felony charges for attempting to violate various Federal statutes related to corruption of public officials and prohibitions against wiretapping”.

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  • 17:01 BST — Julius Genachowski, FCC chairman: Phone hacking is very clearly illegal in the US, covered by federal and state laws. Any incidents should be investigated fully.
  • 16:26 BST — Rep. Anna Eshoo: “We certainly have the jurisdiction” to discuss phone hacking issues.
  • 16:16 BST — Rep. Greg Walden, opening statement: “I want to echo Ms. Bono Mack’s concerns about what happened in the United Kingdom.”
  • 16:05 BST — Rep. Mary Bono Mack, opening statement: “We often hear that privacy laws in Europe are much stricter than they are in the U.S.  If that’s so, it’s hard to understand how the phone hacking incidents in Britain could have gotten so far out of hand.  It raises the  question of whether American consumers are as vulnerable as politicians and celebrities in London.”
  • 11:00 EDT, 16:00 BST — Internet Privacy: The Views of the FTC, the FCC and the NTIA

Scheduled for later today:

  • 17:15 EDT, 22:15 BST — Robert Menendez, CNN
  • 18:45 EDT, 23:45 BST — Frank Lautenberg, MSNBC
  • 20:00 EDT, 01:00 BST — Frank Lautenberg, CNN


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Daily Mirror (11 July) – 9/11 victims “may have had mobile phones tapped by News of the World reporters”

“… a former New York cop made the 9/11 hacking claim. He alleged he was contacted by News of the World journalists who said they would pay him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead.

Now working as a private ­investigator, the ex-officer claimed reporters wanted the victim’s phone numbers and details of the calls they had made and received in the days leading up to the atrocity.”

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  1. Wapping-Gate does have positive aspects for progressive politics.
    The abuse of Milly Dowler is universally despicable. The fact that people everywhere took such instant and furious offence on her behalf is a blazing testimony to the continuing survival of something real and deep and shared. It was an affirmation of Human values over commercial opportunism. There is that to be grateful to Rupert Murdoch for, indirectly, even though it contradicts everything he represents.
    Murdoch rose by peddling a debased version of humanity, and by debasing humanity as much as possible to increase the market. But producing this muck week after week so desensitised his operatives that they saw nothing wrong with tapping Milly Dowler’s phone. And the rest is history
    Murdoch’s influence is broken by his own product. At last the shit comes home to roost. Which must surely be a warning to all the other consumerist pornographers and drug dealers.

  2. Well done Tom Watson and that carefully planned question at PMQs. Job done, the contagion has spread to the US and News Corp.

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