An investigator who is inquiring into the leak of intimate images of Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos on Saturday claimed that Saudi Arabian authorities had hacked Bezos’ phone to access his personal data.
“Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information,” Gavin de Becker, a longtime security consultant of Bezos, said in an article on The Daily Beast website on Saturday.
Gavin de Becker linked the hacking to the Washington Post’s extensive reportage on the murder of its journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a dissident from Saudi Arabia. Bezos owns the newspaper. “It is clear that [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammad bin Salman considers The Washington Post to be a major enemy,” Gavin de Becker said. The United States Senate has held Salman guilty for the murder.
Gavin de Becker said that the National Enquirer paid Michael Sanchez, the brother of former TV host Lauren Sanchez, to reveal details about the Amazon chief’s relationship. However, the investigator said that Michael Sanchez was not the first source who provided intimate details of Bezos’ life to the National Enquirer.
The investigator further said the National Enquirer’s publisher American Media Inc, had threatened Bezos of blackmail by publishing the photographs if the investigator did not halt the inquiry. However, the Amazon chief refused and published American Media Inc’s emails on Medium.
However, Gavin de Becker did not clarify how he had reached the conclusion that Saudi Arabia was behind the hacking of Bezos’ phone. “To respect officials pursuing this case, I won’t disclose details from our investigation,” he wrote. “My results have been turned over to federal officials.”
“Saudi Arabia is hardly the first repressive regime that seeks total control of the news media in its own country,” Gavin de Becker added. “Wanting to control the media in the United States, and using any means to do so, will hopefully prove to be an overreach.”