Bezos' Security Honcho Finished His Probe. Here's What He Found

Gavin de Becker fingers Saudi Arabia
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2019 7:22 AM CDT
Saudis Accessed Bezos' Phone, Says His Security Honcho
In this Sept. 13, 2018, file photo Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington's Milestone Celebration in Washington.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

In a lengthy piece posted to the Daily Beast, Jeff Bezos' investigator, Gavin de Becker, reveals what his investigation into the National Enquirer's publication of a story about Bezos' relationship with Lauren Sanchez turned up: that the Saudis accessed his boss' phone and "gained private information" from it. He lays out details in support of his claim. Some highlights:

  • It didn't take long to identify Sanchez's brother, Michael Sanchez, as a source the Enquirer paid. "What was unusual, very unusual, was how hard AMI people worked to publicly reveal their source’s identity. First through strong hints they gave to me, and later through direct statements, AMI practically pinned a 'kick me' sign on Michael Sanchez."
  • He references a Wall Street Journal article published weeks later that said it was able to verify Michael Sanchez's claim: that he didn't reach out to the Enquirer; rather, it reached out to him regarding the affair. That suggests the Enquirer had been made aware of it via another source.

  • There were more clues in the eight-page contract parent company AMI wanted de Becker and Bezos to sign in exchange for not publishing "embarrassing photos" of Bezos. Its terms would have required the men publicly state that de Becker's investigation revealed the Enquirer hadn't made use of "any form of electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their news-gathering process" and that the story wasn't "instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise"—"External forces? Such a strange phrase," writes de Becker.
  • They didn't sign the contract. De Becker finished his investigation and has handed his results to federal officials. "Since it is now out of my hands, I intend today's writing to be my last public statement on the matter. Further, to respect officials pursuing this case, I won’t disclose details from our investigation. I am, however, comfortable confirming one key fact: 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."
Read his full piece, which lays out why Saudi Arabia considers the Bezos-owned Washington Post to be "a major enemy," here. (More Jeff Bezos stories.)

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