Washington: Key US lawmakers Wednesday ramped up calls for a formal US probe into the phone-hacking firestorm at Rupert Murdoch's media empire, with one senator predicting it would turn up "criminal" misdeeds.
Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer urged Attorney General Eric Holder and Mary Schapiro, chief of the Wall Street watchdog Securities and Exchange Commission, to launch investigations into the scandal.
The lawmakers, Democrats who chair the US Senate's Commerce and Environment and Public Works committees, respectively, cited allegations that employees of Murdoch's news outlets hacked the phones of September 11 victims.
"The reported allegations against News Corporation are very serious, indicate a pattern of illegal activity, and involve thousands of potential victims," the lawmakers said in a letter to Holder and Schaprio.
"It is important to ensure that no United States laws were broken and no United States citizens were victimized," said Rockefeller and Schapiro.
They also pointed to charges that employees of Murdoch's News Corporation -- a US-based firm -- had bribed British police as part of the hacking scandal, saying that would violate US law, namely the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez wrote Holder separately to urge a probe into charges by a British lawmaker that Murdoch employees had hacked into the phones of victims of the terrorist strikes ten years ago.