On Thursday evening, Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos plunked down at the ol’ computer and cranked out a salacious blog. In it, he accused the National Enquirer’s parent company American Media Inc. of trying to blackmail him with, among other things, dick pics he’d allegedly sent to Lauren Sanchez, a woman with whom he was having an affair.
Later that evening, however, Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia cranked up the the already-bonkers allegations with an even bigger claim: That Bezos’ investigative team thinks the government may have been responsible for leaking his text messages in the first place.
“We have spoken with [Bezos’] security consultant, and he’s provided us with some very interesting insights into the back stages of this whole drama, including the investigation that has taken place, in which they have begun to believe—the Bezos camp—that this publication by the National Enquirer might have been politically motivated,” Roig Franzia told MSNBC on Thursday.
Last month Bezos hired a private investigation team to look into whether the leaked data obtained by the Enquirer might have been part of a political hit job against him, presumably by President Donald Trump and his allies.
“I would just add one other thing,” Roig-Franzia continued on Thursday. “You mentioned hacking at the top of the show. [Investigator] Gavin de Becker told us that he does not believe that Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked. He thinks it’s possible that a government entity might have gotten hold of his text messages.”
Hoooo boy, that is one hell of an allegation to drop on national TV. And while alleging that “a government entity” might be involved in Bezos’ dick pick scandal is the sort of claim that would bump this incident into solidly “holy shit!!!” territory, in the interest of healthy skepticism it’s important to note that Roig-Franzia didn’t provide any additional context or data to back up his reported claim. The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay claimed on Friday that he’d been told de Becker wasn’t “seriously exploring this theory.”
AMI has denied any allegations of wrongdoing, but will reportedly investigate Bezos’ claim.
Still, given the extremely shady relationship between Trump and AMI, it’s easy to see why Bezos’ team wouldn’t at least entertain the possibility that something slightly fishier than typical phone hacking might be at play here. At the very least, the fact that it even seems plausible should be enough to give us pause.