Foreign Policy

Did The Saudis Do Trump a Favor By Hacking Bezos?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The relationship between the Trump crime family and the Saudi royal family was already shady and this adds a whole new dimension to our understanding of their relationship.

Amazon founder and the world's richest man Jeff Bezos set the record for the most expensive divorce ever last year after his cellphone was compromised and the National Enquirer obtained evidence of his extramarital affair.

Independent investigators who examined Bezos' phone prepared a report for the United Nations that says they believe Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) himself planted malware on Bezos' phone during a private conversation.

From the Washington Post:

A U.N. official, special rapporteur David Kaye, says in a new documentary film that Bezos’s phone was infected with malware that was delivered via a message from Mohammed. Soon after the message was sent, investigators concluded, a massive amount of data was extracted from Bezos’s phone.

The Guardian newspaper, which first reported Mohammed’s alleged involvement Tuesday, said Bezos and the prince, often referred to as MBS, were engaged in a friendly chat on WhatsApp on May 1, 2018, when Mohammed sent Bezos an apparently infected video file.

Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, has alleged through his security consultant, Gavin de Becker, that the Saudi government had “access to Bezos’s phone, and gained private information.” De Becker wrote in the Daily Beast that the Saudis were “intent on harming Jeff Bezos since . . . the Post began its relentless coverage” of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Post contributing columnist, in October 2018.

The Saudis may have attacked Bezos because of the Washington Post's coverage of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It's also possible that they did Trump a favor. Trump hates the Washington Post, their owner Jeff Bezos, and Trump has used the National Enquirer to both hide his own behavior and expose his enemies throughout his life.

It's possible that all of the above things happened and the Saudis had multiple motivations for hacking Bezos' phone. On one hand it feels slightly insane to hypothesize that Trump has deployed thousands of American troops to Saudi Arabia in a twisted deal with the devil, but at the same time it feels entirely plausible.

Whatever the case may be, I personally believe the Saudi royals to be the most insidiously evil people in the world. And what makes them dangerous isn't just their lack of moral scruples; it's their vast wealthy, influence and capabilities that allow them carry out their most evil plans. The Trumps wish they were the Saudis.

If I were Jeff Bezos, I would deploy every available resource I have to help the Democratic nominee for president, but his wealth may still be more important to him than this ultimate betrayal. I don't know.

  • muselet

    Juan Cole made an interesting point today:

    The revelation that Bin Salman himself played a pivotal role in the attempt to ruin Bezos’s life over the Washington Post‘s reporting on Saudi Arabia and on Donald Trump should send chills down the spine of everyone who has ever chatted with the prince over Whatsapp.…

    We know that Trump son-in-law and high muck-a-muck without portfolio Jared Kushner also has talked to Bin Salman extensively over Whatsapp. This information raises the question of whether Kushner’s phone was similarly compromised by Saudi intelligence, which may be blackmailing Kushner to influence US Middle East policy. Indeed, for all we know, Donald Trump’s own phone may have been hacked in this way by Bin Salman.

    If that thought isn’t scary enough, try this:

    [W]e know that the Saudis have long wanted Iranian general Qasem Soleimani dead. Did they have the kind of dirt on Kushner and Trump that would allow them to blackmail the US into taking Soleimani out? Did they almost involve the US in ware [sic] with Iran (something that Wikileaks shows the Saudis were trying to do way back in 2006).

    That certainly makes more sense than any of the explanations offered by the administration for why the US military was ordered to do wet work by Donald Trump.

    The Trumps wish they were the Saudis.

    Yes. Yes, they do.

    –alopecia