The FBI is reported to be examining allegations that staff at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp tried to access the mobile phones of 9/11 terrorist-attack victims and their relatives.
A spokesperson for the law-enforcement agency in New York told Reuters: "We are aware of the allegations and are looking into it."
The probe has apparently been initiated following calls from US congressman Peter King in response to allegations floated by The Daily Mirror on Monday.
Democratic senators Jay Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer are also reported to have urged the US attorney general and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether US laws had been broken by News Corp.
According to The Mirror, a tabloid rival to News International titles in the UK, a private investigator used by journalists in the US was contacted and asked to hack into the private phone data of 9/11 victims and their grieving relatives.
Quoting an unnamed former NY cop turned private investigator, The Mirror reported: "He said that the journalists asked him to access records showing the calls that had been made to and from the mobile phones belonging to the victims and their relatives."
The investigator said journos "seemed particularly interested in getting the phone records belonging to the British victims of the attacks." ®