Jeff Bezos' investigator doesn't think his phone was hacked. Here are all the other theories of how the National Enquirer got his private photos

Jeff BezosAlex Wong / Getty ImagesJeff BezosAlex Wong / Getty Images

  • While Jeff Bezos' bombshell blog post on Thursday night revealed a lot of details about some sexual photos and texts he sent, it didn't say much about the central question.
  • That question is: How did the National Enquirer get the photos in the first place?
  • The public doesn't know the answer to that but everyone seems to have a theory, some more plausible than others.

The bombshell blog post Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos published on Thursday revealed a lot of detail about some sexual messages he sent, but didn't say much about the central question: how did the National Enquirer get a hold of those photos and text messages in the first place?

Bezos has accused the National Enquirer's parent company, AMI, of attempting to blackmail him with embarrassing texts and nude photos sent to his mistress, and implied that politics involving President Trump and the Saudis could be behind the story of how his texts leaked. AMI's board says it believes it acted legally but is investigating the claims.

Meanwhile, a number of other people have hinted details and floated theories about it, some more credible than others. Let's dive in.

Was it spying by a government entity?

The man investigating, Bezos's longtime private security guy Gavin de Becker, told the Washington Post that he didn't believe the billionaire was hacked.

Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia appeared on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell Thursday night and said he's spoken "extensively" with de Becker.

"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," Roig-Franzia said.

Roig-Franzia didn't say if that government entity was foreign or from the US. Bezos' post insinuated both Donald Trump and the Saudis as potentially being involved  in some way, but didn't offer evidence for those claims.

It is entirely plausible that Bezos' phone was not the source. Bezos is a computer engineer by training who runs one of the world's largest tech companies. Phone security wouldn't be a foreign concept to him.

Could it have been orchestrated by Lauren Sanchez's brother?

Gavin de Becker confirmed days ago to The Daily Beast that his investigation looked into Sanchez's brother, Michael Sanchez, a publicist and Hollywood talent manager who says he worked with his sister. Sanchez is a Trump supporter who knows people in Trump's orbit, including Roger Stone and Carter Page.

No one has said how they think he could have pulled it off. He doesn't appear to have any hacking credentials. However, it seems conceivable that he could have had access to her phone or a computer synced with messages.

With access to a phone, and the password to it, it's not hard to find text messages and pictures. It's also possible to install spying software on a phone. However, hacking a phone, even with physical access to it, is never as easy as it sounds for a non-technical person.

Michael Sanchez has vehemently denied any involvement in the Enquirer story.

Could it have been the NSA?

No one with credible knowledge has publicly accused the NSA of any involvement, although Michael Sanchez posited a variety of theories to explain the leaks, ranging from foreign governments to spying by rival tech companies to the work of the so-called "deep state" within the U.S. government, according to emails viewed by the Washington post between Sanchez and de Becker.

Interestingly, Glenn Greenwald - the journalist who reported on whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations of the NSA's bulk data collection of phone records - tweeted that the Bezos story "reminded him" of one of the capabilities the NSA was accused of, gathering porn and sexting messages.


Still, it seems implausible at best that the NSA could have been involved in leaking Bezos texts to the Enquirer or that the Saudis could have managed this.

If the public ever finds out how the hack occurs remains to be seen. Should Bezos' blog post lead to someone being charged with a crime, more details may be revealed. 

In the meantime, the episode is a good reminder not to sext if the discovery that you're doing so could ruin your life.

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