SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos’s safety guide accused the Saudi authorities of gaining unauthorized entry to the Amazon chief govt’s cellphone, as half of an effort to hurt the world’s richest man.
In an opinion article in The Daily Beast on Saturday, Gavin de Becker, Mr. Bezos’s safety chief, alleged the Saudis wished to harm Mr. Bezos as a result of he owns The Washington Post. The Post has aggressively reported on the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi, one of its columnists, who was killed final yr in Turkey. United States officers have concluded Mr. Khashoggi, who was important of Saudi leaders, was killed on the orders of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Mr. de Becker stated he had turned over his findings about the Saudis and their position in opposition to Mr. Bezos to legislation enforcement.
“Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information,” Mr. de Becker wrote.
Mr. de Becker’s claims about the Saudis are troublesome to confirm and lift many questions. Throughout his article, the safety guide was obscure on particulars. He didn’t reveal direct proof of his accusations and wrote that he wouldn’t converse once more publicly on the subject.
Amazon didn’t instantly have a remark about Mr. Bezos. An official with the Saudi embassy in Washington declined to touch upon Saturday.
Mr. de Becker’s allegations are the newest twist in a weird scenario that has embroiled the largest U.S. tabloid writer and Mr. Bezos, who runs Amazon and owns The Post. The uncommon set of circumstances started in January, when Mr. Bezos introduced that he and his spouse, MacKenzie Bezos, had been divorcing. The subsequent day, The National Enquirer printed an exposé revealing that Mr. Bezos was romantically concerned with Lauren Sanchez, a former Los Angeles TV anchor.
Then in February, Mr. Bezos printed a post on Medium accusing the parent of The Enquirer, American Media Inc., of “extortion and blackmail.” Mr. Bezos said AMI had threatened to publish graphic photographs of him, including a “below-the-belt selfie,” if he did not publicly affirm that The Enquirer’s reporting on his affair was not motivated by political concerns. He said AMI, which has had ties to the Saudis, was “apoplectic” about The Post’s reporting on the Saudis.
Mr. Bezos added that he had asked Mr. de Becker, his longtime security consultant, to investigate who had leaked information and photos about him.
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that two people with direct knowledge of The Enquirer’s reporting said that everything the tabloid received on Mr. Bezos’s affair, including the “below-the-belt selfie,” came from a single source. The Wall Street Journal later reported that AMI had paid Ms. Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, $200,000 for the texts.
But Mr. de Becker on Saturday said that the effort against Mr. Bezos went beyond Mr. Sanchez and also involved the Saudis. Mr. de Becker pointed to an article published on Saturday by The New York Post in which Mr. Sanchez said The Enquirer “had seen text exchanges between the secret couple” before he was in touch with the tabloid on the matter.
“Reality is complicated, and can’t always be boiled down to a simple narrative like ‘the brother did it,’” Mr. de Becker wrote.
He did not say whether the Saudis provided any of Mr. Bezos’s personal information from the phone to AMI.
“As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details,” Mr. de Becker wrote.
Mr. de Becker said his investigation included interviews with cybersecurity experts and “people who personally know the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.” But he stopped short of saying what methods he believed the Saudis may have used to access Mr. Bezos’s personal information.
He added that AMI had wanted him to make a public statement “saying that my investigation had concluded they hadn’t relied upon ‘any form of electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their news-gathering process,’” and that the tabloid’s story was not “instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise.”
Mr. de Becker said he told AMI in a recorded call that those claims were “not my truth.”
AMI declined to comment.
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