The security chief for Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said on Saturday that the Saudi government had access to Bezosâ phone and gained private information from it.
Gavin De Becker, a longtime security consultant, said he had concluded his investigation into the publication in January of 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 newspaperâs owner of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing âintimate photosâ he allegedly sent to Sanchez unless he said in public that the tabloidâs 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 âelectronic eavesdropping or hacking in their newsgathering process.â
âOur investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezosâ phone, and gained private information,â De Becker wrote. âAs of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details.â
A spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately return a request for comment. In February, the kingdomâs minister of state for foreign affairs said Saudi Arabia had âabsolutely nothing to doâ with the National Enquirerâs reporting on the affair.
A representative for AMI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. AMI has previously said that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the Bezos story.
De Becker said he has turned over the findings of his investigation to US federal officials, without elaborating.