Bezos’s Safety Advisor Accuses Saudis of Hacking the Amazon C.E.O.’s Cellphone


SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos’s safety advisor accused the Saudi authorities of gaining unauthorized entry to the Amazon chief govt’s cellphone, as a part of an effort to hurt the world’s richest man.

In an opinion article in The Every day Beast on Saturday, Gavin de Becker, Mr. Bezos’s safety chief, alleged the Saudis needed to harm Mr. Bezos as a result of he owns The Washington Publish. The Publish has aggressively reported on the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi, certainly one of its columnists, who was killed final 12 months in Turkey. United States officers have concluded Mr. Khashoggi, who was crucial 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 concerning the Saudis and their position towards Mr. Bezos to regulation enforcement.

“Our investigators and several other consultants concluded with excessive confidence that the Saudis had entry to Bezos’ cellphone, and gained non-public data,” Mr. de Becker wrote.

Mr. de Becker’s claims concerning the Saudis are troublesome to confirm and lift many questions. All through his article, the safety advisor was imprecise on particulars. He didn’t reveal direct proof of his accusations and wrote that he wouldn’t communicate once more publicly on the difficulty.

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 most recent twist in a weird scenario that has embroiled the biggest U.S. tabloid writer and Mr. Bezos, who runs Amazon and owns The Publish. The weird set of circumstances started in January, when Mr. Bezos introduced that he and his spouse, MacKenzie Bezos, had been divorcing. The subsequent day, The Nationwide 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 put up on Medium accusing the guardian of The Enquirer, American Media Inc., of “extortion and blackmail.” Mr. Bezos stated AMI had threatened to publish graphic images of him, together with a “below-the-belt selfie,” if he didn’t publicly affirm that The Enquirer’s reporting on his affair was not motivated by political considerations. He stated AMI, which has had ties to the Saudis, was “apoplectic” about The Publish’s reporting on the Saudis.

Mr. Bezos added that he had requested Mr. de Becker, his longtime safety advisor, to research who had leaked data and pictures about him.

Earlier this month, The New York Instances reported that two individuals with direct data of The Enquirer’s reporting stated that all the pieces the tabloid acquired on Mr. Bezos’s affair, together with the “below-the-belt selfie,” got here from a single supply. The Wall Road Journal later reported that AMI had paid Ms. Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, $200,000 for the texts.

However Mr. de Becker on Saturday stated that the trouble towards Mr. Bezos went past Mr. Sanchez and likewise concerned the Saudis. Mr. de Becker pointed to an article printed on Saturday by The New York Publish by which Mr. Sanchez stated The Enquirer “had seen textual content exchanges between the key couple” earlier than he was in contact with the tabloid on the matter.

“Actuality is difficult, and may’t at all times be boiled all the way down to a easy narrative like ‘the brother did it,’” Mr. de Becker wrote.

He didn’t say whether or not the Saudis offered any of Mr. Bezos’s private data from the cellphone to AMI.

“As of right now, it’s unclear to what diploma, if any, AMI was conscious of the main points,” Mr. de Becker wrote.

Mr. de Becker stated his investigation included interviews with cybersecurity consultants and “individuals who personally know the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.” However he stopped in need of saying what strategies he believed the Saudis might have used to entry Mr. Bezos’s private data.

He added that AMI had needed him to make a public assertion “saying that my investigation had concluded they hadn’t relied upon ‘any type of digital eavesdropping or hacking of their news-gathering course of,’” and that the tabloid’s story was not “instigated, dictated or influenced in any method by exterior forces, political or in any other case.”

Mr. de Becker stated he instructed AMI in a recorded name that these claims had been “not my fact.”

AMI declined to remark.

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