9/11 families meet over phone-hack allegations

Relatives of 9/11 victims went to Washington yesterday to meet the attorney general, Eric Holder, about allegations surrounding Britain's phone-hacking scandal.

NEW YORK // Relatives of 9/11 victims went to Washington yesterday to meet the attorney general, Eric Holder, about allegations surrounding Britain's phone-hacking scandal.

According to a London tabloid's story based on unnamed sources, a former New York police officer who became a private investigator said he rejected requests by journalists from Rupert Murdoch's now closed News of the World to retrieve private telephone records of September 11 victims.

The US-based parent company for Mr Murdoch's News Corp has called the report "anonymous speculation" with "no substantiation".

Norman Siegel, a lawyer representing some 9/11 victims' relatives, said the family members want to cooperate with the FBI and the Department of Justice "to determine if such hacking was attempted, and/or occurred".

"We are going to the meeting with the attorney general to listen to what he can tell us about the investigation and to ascertain the scope, the goals and timetable of the inquiry," Mr Siegel said.

Retired New York deputy fire chief, Jim Riches, was among family members from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut taking a train from Manhattan to Washington to attend the meeting with Mr Holder. Mr Riches said federal investigators "have permission to investigate my cell lines, my family's, whatever they need".

He lost his son, firefighter Jimmy Riches, 29, in the attacks and also was involved in search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site, "picking up body parts".

"We just want some information, whether these allegations are actually true or not true," said Mr Riches. "We feel we deserve to know."

If the allegations are true, the families affected should be notified and those responsible held accountable, he said.

Published: August 25, 2011 04:00 AM

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