Home / Politics / Donald Trump May Have Been Behind Jeff Bezos’ Phone Hack

Donald Trump May Have Been Behind Jeff Bezos’ Phone Hack

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:31 PM
Laura Hoy
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:31 PM
  • It looks likely that Saudi Arabian officials hacked Jeff Bezos’ personal phone, but their reason for doing so is unclear.
  • The timing of the ordeal doesn’t quite line up with current theories.
  • Donald Trump is a common thread that links Bezos, Prince Salman and the National Enquirer.

Everyone wants to know how Amazon owner Jeff Bezos got hacked. Not only because it’s surprising to learn that the tech big-wig’s phone wasn’t adequately protected against cybercrime, but because it matters in today’s political landscape.

A forensic analysis of Jeff Bezos’ cell phone pointed to a WhatsApp video as the source of the hacking attack. The video was sent to Bezos by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Embassy Denies that Saudi Arabia Hacked Bezos

Following reports of the hacking source, the Saudi Arabian embassy issued a statement on Twitter calling the accusations absurd. After all, why would Saudi officials want Jeff Bezos’ personal information?

Jeff Bezos hack, Saudi Arabia hacke, Donald Trump
Saudi Arabian officials are denying the attack. | Source: Twitter 

There are a few potential answers to that— the first and most prominent being to hold it over his head in the wake of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death. Khashoggi’s murder was called into question by WaPo, and the ordeal soured Bezos’ relationship with Salman, but was it the reason for Bezos’ phone hack?

Perhaps, but the timing is questionable. The video in question was sent to Jeff Bezos on May 1  while the two men were having a friendly conversation. Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul five months later. 

Was it Blackmail?

Some say the fact that the Saudi price was monitoring Bezos’ device shows how far-reaching the nation’s cyber surveillance efforts have become. Others claim Salman sent the infected video in hopes of getting some dirt on Bezos if the Washington Post’s coverage of Saudi Arabia was unpopular.

Proponents of this theory point to the private text messages published by the National Enquirer nine months later as proof. But while the Saudis are almost certainly responsible for infecting Bezos’ phone, the “why” has become increasingly important. 

Timing Doesn’t Add Up

If the Saudi prince was hoping to blackmail Bezos or change the way the Washington Post was reporting, does it make sense to publish damaging personal information posing as someone else? The National Enquirer claims the personal exchanges between Jeff Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez came from her disgruntled brother.

jeff bezos amazon national enquirer david pecker
Bezos’ personal texts and photos were made public as a result of the alleged Saudi attack. | Source: Stephanie Keith / Getty Images / AFP

But her brother tells another story. While he admitted to working with the National Enquirer, Michael Sanchez says he didn’t provide the publication with the texts  and photographs in question. 

Enter Donald Trump

Admittedly, there is no concrete evidence linking President Trump to the Jeff Bezos hacking— but he is a common thread linking each of the participants. Trump close to the National Enquirer’s then-owner, David Pecker. The two have been accused of working together  to skew media coverage in Trump’s favor in the past.

Plus, there’s Donald Trump’s chummy relationship with Said officials — a fact that has been vehemently criticized in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder. New concerns that the Saudi prince may have been spying on the White House via Jared Kushner’s phone  reveal the president “forced [Salman’s] security clearance through.”

Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos
Donald Trump has been at war with the Washington Post and Jeff Bezos since the start of his presidency. | Source: Twitter 

Finally, there’s his ongoing conflict with the Washington Post and its owner. Trump’s beef with Bezos was rumored to have disrupted a potential deal  between Amazon and the Department of Defense. If you subscribe to that theory, is it such a stretch to imagine Trump asking the Saudi Prince to dig up dirt on Bezos?

Abuse of Power

With Trump currently on trial for abusing his power for his own personal gain, the fact that he has been feuding with Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post for years can’t be overlooked. Saudi Arabia’s bold Twitter post calling for an investigation into claims that Prince Salman is behind the hacking attack are telling. Whether the White House is willing to delve into the matter further is likely dependent on the president’s involvement.

donald trump impeachment
Trump’s impeachment trial offers a compelling reason to consider that he was involved in Jeff Bezos’ hacking | Source: Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Moving forward, keep an eye on Trump’s response and Washington’s willingness to investigate the Saudi’s cyber-surveillance. While there isn’t any evidence linking Donald Trump to the ordeal right now, I’d say there’s a good chance there will be if the investigation goes further. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.