News Corp.'s legal department told New York Post staff today to preserve documents related in any way to the phone-hacking scandal that has already engulfed the News of the World, its former sibling tabloid in London.
"Please know we are sending this notice not because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful," a memo to Post staffers said. "However, given what has taken place in London, we believe that taking this step will help to underscore how seriously we are taking this matter."
Post editor Col Allan told staff to make sure they comply. "As we watched the news in the U.K. over the last few weeks, we knew that as a News Corporation tabloid, we would be looked at more closely," he wrote in a separate memo. "So this is not unexpected."
News Corp. declined to comment on the memos.
News Corp.'s Britain-based scandal has seeped into the U.S., forcing The Wall Street Journal's publisher to resign and spawning inquiries at the FBI and the Justice Department, but nobody has publicly alleged that the company's U.S. news operations broke the law. Journal publisher Les Hinton resigned, for example, over his time atop News Corp.'s British newspapers division. The FBI is looking into whether News Corp. employees tried to get access to the phone records of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, but so far that allegation points only to the News of the World.