Saudi Arabian officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told The Wall Street Journal they were aware of an alleged plan to hack Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos’ phone. The officials told the newspaper that the crown prince’s media adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, was involved in the Bezos hacking—which they say was part of a larger intimidation campaign against Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was killed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, several months after the hack. It is reportedly unclear how the officials knew about the alleged hack, and Qahtani has not spoken publicly on the matter. Qahtani has been sanctioned by the United Nations for his role in the Khashoggi killing, and he also reportedly took part in organizing an online campaign denouncing the Post and pushing an Amazon boycott.
Bezos’ phone was reportedly hacked through a WhatsApp conversation he had with the crown prince in May 2018, nine months before Bezos’ texts and intimate pictures were published in the National Enquirer and five months before Khashoggi was killed. Two U.N. officials have since called for further investigation into the alleged hack. The State Department has not commented on the U.N.’s call to investigate, and Bezos’ lawyer said his client would be cooperating with investigations.