Bezos' Investigator Suspects Gov't Behind Leaked Text Messages: Washington Post Reporter

Photo Credit: Cliff Owen/AP/Shutterstock
February 8, 2019
Updated 12d ago

By Carlo Versano

The private investigator working on behalf of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to find out how his private texts were leaked to the National Enquirer believes a "government entity" may have been involved.

That explosive claim was relayed on Cheddar Friday morning by Manuel Roig-Franzia, a Washington Post reporter who interviewed Gavin de Becker, Bezos' security chief.

"He told us that he had concluded that Bezos' phone was not hacked, and that there was a possibility that there was a government entity that could have gotten hold of those text messages," Roig-Franzia said about his interview with de Becker. He said the investigator believes the texts may have then been forwarded to American Media, the publisher of the Enquirer.

De Becker did not provide evidence of that claim to Roig-Franzia.

Bezos alleged in a Medium post published late Thursday that AMI attempted to extort him with the threat of releasing his intimate photos unless he called off his personal investigation into the company's practices and had de Becker disavow his statements that the Enquirer's Bezos expose was "politically motivated."

"They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn't stop our investigation," Bezos wrote.

AMI said in a statement Friday that the company "believes fervently that it acted lawfully" in reporting on Bezos, but that it would investigate the CEO's allegations.

After Bezos' Medium post exploded online, the journalist Ronan Farrow, who has extensively reported on AMI and its "catch and kill" strategy of buying the rights to a story and then burying it on behalf of someone powerful, said on Twitter that the publisher attempted to blackmail him in the past.

AMIs' president, David Pecker, struck an immunity deal with federal prosecutors in August related to their investigation into hush money payments paid out by President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to women who alleged that they had affairs with the president. It is unclear how Bezos' allegations would impact that deal, but Bloomberg reported Friday that federal prosecutors are reviewing evidence to determine if the company violated its immunity agreement.

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