- Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs on Sunday said that the kingdom had nothing to do with leaking Jeff Bezos’ texts to the National Enquirer and that the whole saga sounded like a “soap opera.”
- In an explosive blog post last week, Bezos pointed to links between the National Enquirer and the Saudis and suggested he could be a target of the Saudis because of his ownership of The Washington Post, which reported critically on Saudi Arabia over the killing of its journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- During an ABC interview on Sunday, an attorney for American Media Inc. – the Enquirer’s publisher – also denied that Saudi Arabia had anything to do with the story.
- He refused to name the source who leaked Bezos’ texts to the Enquirer but said the source was known to Bezos and the recipient of the texts, Lauren Sanchez.
A high-ranking Saudi official told CBS on Sunday that the kingdom had nothing to do with the leaking of Jeff Bezos’ intimate texts.
Bezos published an explosive blog post last week accusing the National Enquirer, which acquired texts to his mistress, Lauren Sanchez, of “blackmail and extortion.”
In discussing possible motives for the exposé of his relationship with Sanchez, he mentioned links between Saudi Arabia and the Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc., including the fact that AMI published a glossy pro-Saudi magazine in March.
Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, also mentioned Jamal Khashoggi, the Post opinion columnist who was killed in October by a group of Saudis with ties to the Saudi government.
“The Post’s essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles,” Bezos wrote, suggesting he thinks The Post’s reporting may have given Saudi Arabia a motive to unearth unflattering stories about him.
He also said that the head of AMI, David Pecker, was “apoplectic” about his private investigation into the origin of the Enquirer story and that “the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.”
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, denied to CBS that the kingdom had any involvement in leaking Bezos’ texts.
“This sounds to me like a soap opera,” al-Jubeir said. “I’ve been watching it on television and reading about it in the paper. This is something between the two parties. We have nothing to do with it.”
On the same day, AMI’s attorney Elkan Abramowitz gave an interview to ABC News. In it, he refused to name the source who gave the texts to the Enquirer but did reveal some details about the person’s identity.
He said it was “a reliable source that had been giving information to the National Enquirer for seven years” and that the person was “well known to both Mr. Bezos and Miss Sanchez.”AMI sources told The Daily Beast that the source of the leak was Lauren Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez.
Though he refused to comment on whether Sanchez was the source, at one point Abramowitz appeared to let slip the source’s gender. “It was a person that was known to both Bezos and Miss Sanchez, therefore giving his information more credibility,” he said.
Abramowitz also denied that Saudi Arabia had anything to do with the leak and said AMI “doesn’t have any Saudi Arabian financing.”