A reporter at The Washington Post says that an investigator hired by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos believes that text messages leaked to the National Enquirer between Bezos and his girlfriend may have been sent to the magazine by someone in government.
In an appearance on MSNBC on Thursday, Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia said that Bezos's security consultant, Gavin de Becker, believes that the National Enquirer obtained text messages from Bezos through inappropriate means.
Bezos on Thursday said in a blog post that the Enquirer was attempting to force him to call off his investigation of the tabloid under the threat of further texts being released.
“They have begun to believe, the Bezos camp, that this publication by the National Enquirer might have been politically motivated,” Roig-Franzia said Thursday.
“Gavin de Becker told us that he does not believe that Jeff Bezos’s phone was hacked, he thinks it’s possible that a government entity might have gotten hold of his text messages,” he added.
Washington Posts @RoigFranzia says Bezos' team thinks it's possible that the text leaks were politically motivated and that a "government entity" accessed the Bezos texts and hoo boy that's certainly something pic.twitter.com/MQuzNFbCed— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 8, 2019
De Becker's assertion that Bezos's phone was not hacked raises questions as to how staffers at the Enquirer obtained messages that were allegedly sent privately between Bezos and his rumored girlfriend, former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.
The Enquirer is owned by David Pecker, a top ally of President TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE. Pecker has been accused of helping the president kill unfavorable stories about his past affairs during the 2016 presidential race.
Bezos and Trump have feuded publicly over Amazon and its relationship with the federal government, as well as over Bezos's ownership of The Washington Post, which the president says unfairly targets him with negative news coverage.
In a Medium post Thursday night, the Amazon CEO vowed not to fall for "extortion" tactics from Pecker and American Media Inc., which owns the Enquirer.
"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what [American Media Inc.] sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote.