The Government of Saudi Arabia accessed the private contents of Jeff Bezos' phone, a Bezos-hired private investigator alleged in a Saturday post at the Daily Beast. According to the investigator, Gavin De Becker, the Saudis, received text messages between the married Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez. The material was leaked to the National Enquirer, which published a story revealing Bezos 'affair.
"Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone and gained private information. , "The Becker wrote. He added that it was "unclear to what degree, if any," the National Enquirer "was aware of the details" of how the information had been obtained.
De Becker thinks the Saudis may have been motivated by the Bezos-owned Washington Post 's dogged coverage of last October's murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA has reportedly ordered Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder
Hours before the Enquirer story was published earlier this year, Jeff Bezos announced his separation from his wife of two decades, MacKenzie
American Media Inc. (AMI), the company that publishes the National Enquirer insists that its information about Bezos' affair came from a single source: Lauren's brother Michael. A Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Sanchez had sold text messages to the Enquirer for $ 200,000. However, the Journal also indicated that the Enquirer had already been investigating whether Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez were having an affair "when they approached Michael Sanchez, suggesting that the magazine may have been initially tipped off to the relationship with someone else.
De Becker declined to provide proof that the Saudis were the original source for the story. He says he has turned his full findings on federal law enforcement for additional investigation. However, the Becker points out that there is already extensive reporting on the close relationship between David Pecker, CEO of AMI and the Saudi regime
A year ago, AMI published (in the words of The New York Times ) "in 97-page glossy magazine that is essentially a promotional brochure for Saudi Arabia." Titled "the new kingdom," it described Salman as "the most influential Arab leader", and he was successful in battling terrorism and building the Saudi economy.
After the magazine was published, it might be required to register as a foreign agent, AMI notified the Justice Department that it had shared an advance copy of the magazine with an advisor to the Saudis. The Saudi advisor suggested some changes to the magazine and supplied AMI with some better photographs of Salman. AMI said it made some of the changes suggested by the advisor.
The Becker says that the advisor was Kacy Grine, a 30-year-old Frenchman who has become a frequent intermediary between the Saudi Kingdom and the West. The New York Times reported last year that Pecker had taken along for a 201
Pecker was able to arrange the meeting because he and Trump have been friends and allies for decades. Shortly before the 2016 election, the National Enquirer paid former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal $ 150,000 for the rights to a story on an alleged affair with Donald Trump. Instead of publishing the story, Pecker buried it, saving Trump and embarrassing news cycle.
According to the Times the Saudis were impressed at Pecker's ability to get a meeting with Trump, and soon Grine arranged a meeting between Pecker and the Saudi crown prince. "By January Mr. Pecker was confident about his growing report with Saudi investors that he sought their help in acquiring Time magazine," the Times reported last year. Pecker never succeeded in acquiring Time
Becker says AMI seemed desperate to downplay its Saudi ties
After the Enquirer published its initial story about Bezos' affair in January, Bezos hired De Becker to investigate how AMI had obtained his private messages to Sanchez. In response, AMI sent Bezos a letter threatening to publish the chart, graphic picture of Bezos (including one "dick pic") unless Bezos signed a confidentiality agreement.
The Becker says that one proposed Draft of this agreement required Bezos and De Becker to publicly confirm that AMI had not engaged in "any form of electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their news-gathering process." "I would never say anything about electronic eavesdropping or hacking," De Becker notes. "They also wanted to say our investigation had concluded that their story was not instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise." "Instead of buckling to AMI's demands, Bezos published AMI's threatening emails on Medium and gave the Becker an unlimited budget to figure out how AMI had obtained the emails. At this point, De Becker says, AMI worked hard at the blame on Michael Sanchez.
"First through strong hints they gave to me, and later through direct statements, AMI practically pinned to a" kick me "sign on Michael Sanchez, "The Becker writes.
In short, AMI seemed desperate to deflect attention away from anyone else who might have helped AMI with the story. The Becker now believes that the "someone else" here is the Saudi government.
Bezos himself sounded a similar note in his February Medium post exposing AMI's blackmail attempt.
"For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve, "Bezos wrote.