- Saudi Arabia has denied hacking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, describing the claim as “absurd.”
- The Saudi Embassy in the US called via Twitter on Wednesday for “an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”
- A bombshell report in The Guardian cited sources who had concluded Bezos’ phone was hacked by a link sent in a WhatsApp message from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s phone number in May 2018.
- If true, the hack would have taken place just months before the October 2018 murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for the Bezos-owned Washington Post.
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Saudi Arabia is denying hacking into Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone.
A bombshell report by The Guardian on Wednesday cited sources who conducted “a digital forensic analysis” that found Bezos’ phone appeared to be hacked by a malicious video file sent from a WhatsApp number belonging to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in May 2018.
“Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd,” the Saudi Embassy in the US wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”
Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.
— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) January 22, 2020
The apparent hacking of Bezos’ phone is the latest episode in a bizarre saga that seems to relate to the Amazon CEO’s ownership of The Washington Post.
That Bezos’ communications were compromised first came to light when the US tabloid the National Enquirer reported that he was having an affair with the US news anchor Lauren Sanchez. The Enquirer published intimate texts and images of the pair together. Bezos later wrote a blog post accusing the publisher of trying to blackmail him.
Bezos’ head of security, Gavin de Becker, subsequently wrote that an internal investigation concluded Bezos had been hacked by the Saudis. Saudi Arabia and the publisher of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., previously denied that Saudi officials were involved in the episode.
The phone hacking described in The Guardian also would have occurred only five months before the murder of the Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who wrote for the Bezos-owned Washington Post. Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, and it is widely believed that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered his killing.
Two UN special rapporteurs, David Kaye and Agnes Callamard, are expected to release a statement and report on the suspected hacking on Wednesday.
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