Jeff Bezos' investigator is confident Saudi Arabia hacked Bezos' phone before National Enqurirer affair exposé

National Enquirer.
(Image credit: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Gavin de Becker, the veteran security consultant leading Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' investigation into how National Enquirer obtained personal text messages between him and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, says his office "quickly identified" Sanchez's "now-estranged brother" Michael as "the person whom the Enquirer had paid as a source." But "what was unusual, very unusual," about the case is "how hard" the Enquirer and its publisher, American Media Inc., "worked to publicly reveal their source's identity," de Becker wrote at The Daily Beast. "First through strong hints they gave to me, and later through direct statements, AMI practically pinned a 'kick me' sign on Michael Sanchez."

Sanchez's involvement is as superfluous to the investigation as "the name of a low-level Watergate burglar," de Becker said. Bezos was interested in AMI's "extortion and blackmail," as he explained in a Medium post, and the investigation, now complete and handed of to federal officials, points to Saudi Arabia, de Becker wrote. "Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information. As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.