Eric Holder held a meeting with families of victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001 at the Justice Department yesterday to discuss allegations first reported in The Mirror that the News of the World tried to hack victims' voicemails.
Norman Siegel, a lawyer representing some of the families, told reporters that Holder had said that it was "very disturbing" that the UK phone hacking scandal could have spread to 9/11 victims.
Ahead of the meeting, Siegel told The AP that the families were working with the FBI in its investigation to determine whether hacking "was attempted, and/or occurred".
"We are going to the meeting with the attorney general to listen to what he can tell us about the investigation and to ascertain the scope, the goals and timetable of the inquiry," Siegel said.
Last month, The Mirror claimed that News of the World journalists had approached a former New York police officer working as a private detective to see if he would hack the phones, but he refused. The story was based on unnamed sources.
News Corp has strenuously denied the claims and dismissed the report as "anonymous speculation" with "no substantiation". British police investigating allegations of phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World have also told the FBI that there were no names or phone numbers of 9/11 victims among their evidence gathered to date.
Officers working on the Met Police's Operation Weeting probe into phone hacking have examined massive phone records taken from jailed private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and other sources, but found no evidence to suggest 9/11 victims were targeted.
The New York Police Department is further thought to have informed the FBI that it has nothing to suggest phones were hacked, while the FBI's own agents have said the same.
Meanwhile, the US investigation into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has now been widened beyond the 9/11 claims, examining whether there was a broader pattern of misconduct at the firm's US operation.