The Federal Bureau of Investigation will investigate allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp tried to hack into the phone records of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the agency said on Thursday.
"We're looking into allegations raised by the letter by Peter King yesterday," said an FBI source, asking not to be identified.
King, a Republican U.S. congressman from New York, called for the investigation after Britain's The Daily Mirror newspaper on Monday first reported the possible hacking.
News Corp declined to comment on the FBI probe.
The Daily Mirror reported that News of the World journalists offered to pay a New York police officer to retrieve the private phone records of victims of the September 11 attacks. The Daily Mirror, citing an unidentified source, said journalists wanted the phone numbers of the dead as well as details of the calls they made and received in the days leading to the attacks.
News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch last week shut down the News of the World, Britain's top-selling Sunday tabloid, on a growing firestorm over allegations grew that its journalists had illegally accessed voicemails of thousands of people, from child murder victims to the families of Britain's war dead.
The Daily Mirror reported that the New York police officer, who now works as a private investigator, said at the time that he would turn down the request because of "how bad it would look," the newspaper's source was quoted as saying.