Employees at Rupert Murdoch's tabloid the New York Post have been instructed to preserve any traces of the kind of phone hacking uncovered at one of the media tycoon's British newspapers.
In a memo, Post editor Col Allen told employees that the instruction from in-house lawyers to "preserve and maintain documents" came "in light of what has gone on in London at News of the World, and not because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful."
Allen stressed that the Post, a daily with a reputation for hard-hitting scoops or what critics see as muck-raking, was not itself suspected of the illegal activity uncovered at other papers in Murdoch's News Corporation stable.
"As we watched the news in the UK over the last few weeks, we knew that as a News Corporation tabloid, we would be looked at more closely. So this is not unexpected," he said in the memo posted on poynter.com online journalism site.
The revelation of widespread phone hacking by journalists has caused a political uproar in Britain and News Corp is concerned that investigators may widen their probe to Murdoch's US-based outlets.
The racy News of the World tabloid was found to have illegally hacked into phones of prominent crime victims and as many as 4,000 people in total.