The FBI has confirmed it is investigating allegations that News Corp may have tried to hack into phone records of victims of the 9/11 attacks. It is the first significant investigative step in the United States in a scandal which has engulfed the company in the UK. Peter King, a Republican congressman from New York, had called on the FBI to launch an investigation into allegations of what he called "contemptible" behaviour. An FBI official in New York told Sky News it is "looking into the allegations". The move comes as Rupert Murdoch and his son James have said they will give evidence to a Commons select committee next week. They will appear alongside News International chief executive and former NOTW editor Rebekah Brooks. In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp, Rupert Murdoch has defended the company's handling of the crisis. He also said it would establish an independent committee to "investigate every charge of improper conduct". The 80-year-old dismissed reports he would sell his UK newspapers to bring the scandal to and end, calling the suggestion "total rubbish". The Daily Mirror reported that News Of The World journalists offered to pay a former New York police officer to retrieve the private phone records of victims of the September 11 attacks. It was claimed they wanted the phone numbers of the dead as well as details of the calls they made and received in the days leading to the attacks.