Today’s meeting between U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and a group of family members of 9/11 victims was held in Washington and lasted more than hour, according to attorney Norman Siegel, who represents the 9/11 families. The group sought the meeting in the wake of reports that News Corp reporters may have attempted to hack into victims’ family members’ phone numbers, much in the same way journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the Worldhacked into phones of the families of London bombing victims and murdered children, as well as of politicians and celebrities. That fallout from that scandal caused NOTW to shutter and eventually ended News Corp’s bid to take over the UK’s biggest satellite TV provider BSkyB. Holder didn’t say today whether there were phone records indicating tampering on this side of the pond, Siegel said, but did say that the FBI investigation is in the preliminary stages.
Meanwhile in London, the UK’s opposition Labour Party intensified its attacks on Prime Minister David Cameron over reports his former PR chief was receiving payments from News Corp while on the PM’s staff. Adding further fuel to the fire was a story in today’s Financial Times, which said Coulson’s legal fees are being paid by News Corp. The payments, to law firm DLA Piper, are the first indication that the former NOTW editor is still receiving financial assistance from News International, which would neither confirm nor deny the report. “It is outrageous that the firm refuses to answer a question which is a matter of public interest,” said Labour MP Tom Watson. “This totally undermines its claim to be co-operating with those investigating phone-hacking and smacks of a cover-up.” Coulson quit his government job in January and was arrested July 8 after revelations emerged of hacking at NOTW during Coulson’s tenure as its editor.