Saudis involved in hack of Jeff Bezos cellphone, security chief says

The National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, is denying a report that the Saudi government hacked into the cellphone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Bezos’ security chief, Gavin De Becker, has been investigating how Bezos’ private photos and texts were leaked to the Enquirer. On Saturday, he published an op-ed in The Daily Beast, in which he accused AMI of “being in league with a foreign nation that’s been actively trying to harm American citizens.”

Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos (left); Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. AP Photos, Mark Lennihan/Future Investment Initiative

De Becker says his mission to find out who leaked Bezos’ private information to the National Enquirer led him to the Saudi government. He wrote that an investigation, which included interviews with spyware experts and people with close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, found “…with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information.”

In February Bezos accused the National Enquirer’s publisher of blackmailing him by threatening to publish lewd photos of him and his alleged mistress, former TV host Lauren Sanchez.

AMI has repeatedly said Sanchez’s brother, Michael, leaked all the material and photos, but he has denied being the sole source, reports correspondent Jamie Yuccas.

Still, De Becker alleges AMI may have already been looking into the affair and approached Michael Sanchez for proof.

De Becker claims that “… the Saudi government has been intent on harming… Bezos since last October,” when his newspaper, the Washington Post, “began its relentless coverage” of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. He wrote that “… it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details” of the hack.

In a statement, AMI called the claims “false and unsubstantiated.” The company added, “There was no involvement by any other third party whatsoever.”

“CBS This Morning” reached out to the Saudi Embassy for comment, but we have not heard back. The Saudi government has previously denied any involvement.

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