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Eric Holder discusses hacking probe with families of Sept. 11 victims

August 25, 2011|By Kim Geiger and David G. Savage
  • Relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York speak with reporters outside the Justice Department in Washington after a meeting with Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.
Relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York speak… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. met Wednesday afternoon with about a dozen family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to discuss an FBI probe into allegations that News Corp. employees may have hacked into the phones of victims or their families.

A Justice Department official said the more than hourlong meeting was “a positive, productive meeting, but mostly a listening session.”

Holder described the possibility that there was hacking as “very disturbing,” the families’ lawyer, Norman Siegel, told the Associated Press.

“[Holder] said the department is taking the allegations seriously, but the FBI investigation is still in the preliminary stages,” the official said, noting that Holder did not provide the families with an update or any details about the investigation. 

“We normally don’t talk about investigations,” the official said. 

Family members expressed concern that they did not know how to be sure FBI officials who contact them are actually from the FBI. 

“They asked about how they could be sure of speaking to someone who contacts them,” the official said. They wanted to be assured it was the FBI. They talked about the hot-line number for contacting the FBI.”

The question of whether Sept. 11 victims or their relatives had been hacked arose from a news story in the Daily Mirror, a London tabloid, in which unnamed sources claim that a former New York police officer was asked by employees of News Corp. to provide phone records of the Sept. 11 victims.

News Corp. has dismissed the report as “anonymous speculation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

kim.geiger@latimes.com

david.savage@latimes.com

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