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Bezos' consultant accuses Saudis of taking Amazon CEO's phone data

Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post. Photo: Alex Wong/ Getty Images

Saudi Arabia took data from Jeff Bezos’ phone after coverage in his newspaper, The Washington Post, on the killing of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the billionaire's security consultant alleged in a Daily Beast article Saturday.

Quote[I]t’s clear that MBS considers The Washington Post to be a major enemy.
— Gavin De Becker's allegation against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Why it matters: Gavin De Becker's Daily Beast opinion piece comes after the National Enquirer reported Bezos had an affair with Lauren Sanchez. Bezos raised “extortion and blackmail" concerns over the story. "[T]he Enquirer became an enforcement arm of the Trump presidential campaign, and presidency," per the Daily Beast.

The big picture: Bezos has for 22 years worked with de Becker, the founder of a consulting and service firm for at-risk figures. De Becker promptly identified the person the Enquirer paid as a source: A man named Michael Sanchez, the brother of Lauren Sanchez, learning that the initial information came from a source other than Sanchez.

  • De Becker found the Enquirer first contacted Sanchez about the affair, "not the other way around," according to the Daily Beast.
  • De Becker's investigation included interviews with Enquirer owner AMI execs and sources, Middle East intelligence, cyber security experts with experience tracking Saudi spyware, current and former advisers to President Trump, and others.
  • De Becker also spoke of studying the "close relationship between MBS and AMI chairman, David Pecker."

What's next: De Becker's results have been turned over to federal officials.

The latest: AMI issued a statement Sunday saying Sanchez's brother was the sole source of leaks about Bezos’ relationship.

Go deeper: Fake news fight pivots to retail