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Rockefeller Seeks U.S. Connections to News Corp. Scandal

Letter to Leveson Inquiries About New Evidence
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Senate Commerce Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is even more suspicious of News Corp. than he was last July when he called on U.S. authorities to investigate whether the media conglomerate broke any U.S. laws soon after the British newspaper phone-hacking scandal broke.

In a letter Wednesday to Lord Justice Brian Leveson, Rockefeller asks Leveson if his investigation has turned up any new evidence that News International's conduct involved U.S. citizens or violated U.S. laws.

The letter comes the the day after the release of a British report declaring that Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corp. was "not a fit person" to run a major company.

As chairman of the Commerce Committee, Rockefeller has jurisdiction over media and communications issues. Rockefeller is particularly concerned about the possibility that some of the undisclosed victims of phone hacking might be U.S. citizens and that U.S. telephone networks might have been used to intercept messages. He also asked Leveson about whether or not there was any evidence suggesting that News Corp. officials in New York were aware of illegal payments made to British public officials, which is illegal under U.S. laws.

"More generally, I would like to know whether News International or any other News Corporation business used hacking, bribing, or other similar tactics when operating in the United Stated," Rockefeller wrote.

Soon after the scandal broke last summer, U.S. authorities opened preliminary probes into News Corp., but so far the scandal has remained on British soil.