Security specialist Gavin de Becker investigated leaked text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor who the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper said Bezos was dating.
Last month, Bezos accused the newspaper’s owner of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing “intimate photos” he sent to Sanchez unless he said in public that the tabloid’s reporting on him was not politically motivated.
In an article for The Daily Beast website, De Becker said the parent company of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., had privately demanded that De Becker deny finding any evidence of “electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their newsgathering process”.
“Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information”, De Becker wrote. “As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details.”
A spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately return a request for comment. In February, the kingdom’s minister of state for foreign affairs said Saudi
Arabia had “absolutely nothing to do” with the National Enquirer’s reporting on the affair.
De Becker has turned over his investigation's results to US federal officials, then published today's essay warning the National Enquirer and its chairman have "evolved into trying to strong-arm an American citizen whom that country's leadership wanted to be harmed compromised, and silenced".
He thinks Saudi Arabia did it in response to the "relentless" coverage by the Washington Post - which Bezos owns - of the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi who was hacked to death in a Saudi embassy.