I’m normally not interested in tabloid gossip, or someone’s personal affairs, but the recent scandal involving Jeff Bezos, the Amazon chief executive and the National Enquirer, reeks of another political attack on President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia by the establishment media.
I also couldn’t help but notice the potential similarities between Bezos and Jussie Smollett, the actor from the TV show "Empire" who alleged he was the victim of a hate crime, telling police that he had been beaten up by two masked men in a Chicago neighborhood.
According to reports, Bezos legal team is claiming he was the victim of an international conspiracy led by the Saudis.
These stories say Bezos’ investigators alleged that his girlfriend’s brother did not operate alone when he turned over personal text messages of the Amazon king, taken from his sister’s cell phone.
Now, Bezos is claiming the Saudis hacked his cell phone, apparent payback against the billionaire because of The Washington Post’s critical coverage in the aftermath of the Khashoggi killing.
Sound farfetched? Well it is.
Let me explain.
Having lived and worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and as someone that was critical of the Kingdom after the killing of Khashoggi, I feel I’m fairly insightful and objective on the Bezos matter.
This is why I find the mind-blowing international espionage conspiracy involving the Trump administration, Saudi Arabia, and the National Enquirer, laid out by Bezos’ long-time private investigator, Gavin de Becker, preposterous and a bit comical.
According to de Becker, the “Saudi government has been intent on harming Jeff Bezos since last October, when the Post began its relentless coverage of (Jamal) Khashoggi’s murder.”
He said, “Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information.”
Who exactly are these experts?
Consider that numerous reports indicate that digital forensic analysis turned up “no evidence of a hack” and that theory was quickly discounted.
Meanwhile, the Trump-Saudi-Enquirer narrative set off a media firestorm making Bezos the victim of an international conspiracy.
Recently The Wall Street Journal reported the reality of the Bezos “hacking” claims was much simpler: “Michael Sanchez, the brother of Mr. Bezos’ lover, sold the billionaire’s secrets for $200,000 to the Enquirer’s publisher.”
Why, then, is Bezos pushing this baseless Saudi theory?
One reason is he may want to turn the public focus away from embarrassing marital issues and put the spotlight on the Saudis, who The Washington Post has sought to paint as the ultimate bad guy. (No matter that the Saudis have been America’s longtime allies since World War II.)
Another reason for dragging the Saudis into the mix is this: it helps the Southern District of New York open a probe of American Media and their paper the National Enquirer.
Normally, the Enquirer would be protected from federal probes because of the First Amendment — even if they paid sources for information and photos. (It’s totally legal, though I don’t condone the practice.)
So herein lies the problem for de Becker and Bezos, and what makes this case so complex for prosecutors reviewing the matter in the Southern District of New York.
If it is established that Bezos’s people conspired to create a Trump-Saudi-Enquirer hoax, it could be quite problematic if the prosecutors believe they were misled and provided a false narrative.
For their part, The Enquirer and its top brass have been raked over the coals for what Bezos characterized as blackmail and extortion. The SDNY will have plenty of questions about that too.
But before the public or the Southern District buys into claims of a Saudi connection, Bezos team must “put up or shut up” — provide hard evidence that proves their allegations and justifies a federal inquiry.
As New York City’s 40th Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik was in command of the NYPD on September 11, 2001, and responsible for the city’s response, rescue, recovery, and the investigative efforts of the most substantial terror attack in world history. His 35-year career has been recognized in more than 100 awards for meritorious and heroic service, including a presidential commendation for heroism by President Ronald Reagan, two Distinguished Service Awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and an appointment as Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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