EDIT: Here  is a reporter from the Washington Post backing that up. The Bezos' camp believes this is a politically motivated attack and the data was acquired by a "government entity" (logically the US or Saudis).
 - https://twitter.com/ndrew_lawrence/status/109371533307931853...
"So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!"
Strange times we're living in.
People are acting all shocked like this is a new state of affairs. It's not. We are just far more empowered now to actually learn about these things.
Wether you call it gaining influence or blackmail, it's usually the technique of authoritarians or the corrupt and not a path we want to advocate or even tolerate.
By contrast, we've arrived at a point where those very same techniques, practiced openly and brazenly, are considered legitimate in the eyes of a significant plurality of both Washington leaders and the national electorate.
Corruption has always existed, but unless it's normalized you at least have a fighting change of containing it. When its normalized it will consume the whole system. Pervasive cynicism is sufficient to normalize it, and that's often how it metastasizes.
Yes, all presidents and foreign powers do this. Although Bezos doesn't present any proof that it's actually happening here, just speculation.
I'm happy to be proven wrong but to also be clear: there is zero evidence that Trump had anything to do with this.
Before a crime is proven, there's usually speculation. Just like people suspected Nixon of being involved in Watergate before there was actual proof. The truth can come slowly.
I agree that we need to follow due process, but it's just as dangerous to categorize any suspicion of criminal activity as "blaming Trump for everything". You're just on the opposite end of the spectrum as people who thinks he's guilty before we have proof.
Evidence takes time, especially with plea bargains where there's incentive to hold out until the evidence against you is overwhelming.
It's best to be somewhere in the middle where you're equally skeptical and open to whatever news and evidence comes out.
As others have pointed out, he tweet-taunted Bezos a few weeks ago in a way that seems rather connected to this recent revelation.
Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski wrote an op-ed (in the Post!!) about having been threatened with blackmail by AMI, seemingly in direct connection to the White House's desires. Ronan Farrow came forward yesterday to say that AMI tried something similar with him.
Sure, Trump may have nothing to do with it. But you and I aren't courts of law; we're people, and we're allowed to look at the evidence and come to our own conclusions.
If your conclusion is that this is an "era ... which blames Trump for every thing that goes wrong with no evidence whatsoever" then you're just doing a bad job of evaluating evidence.
That realization is actually foundational to our system of criminal Due Process. It's why nearly every piece of evidence entered into trial, even simple documents and scientific analyses, requires a witness to vouchsafe. Facts cannot be divorced from their human origin, and any fact can be challenged by challenging the credibility of its origin.
All facts are messy things, and while some are messier than others there's no avoiding careful consideration in light of the available context. It follows that the distinction between fact and conjecture is one of opinion.
Like other smear attempts for instance Wikileaks on the Clinton campaign and also why its unlikely Mueller will EVER get the smoking gun on Trump. You don’t need to order these things, your allies will do it without your knowledge. Deniability.
You mean the FBI hired Fusion GPS for official business? I believe the term you are looking for is "contracting".
Not to say that previous Presidents haven't done bad things, abused laws, etc, (shit, even launched disinfo campaigns, used the press to attack enemies, etc) but this is just gobsmackingly different from what has come before.
Obviously caveat "if this is true" blah blah blah because my Lord who knows what's true anymore. But knock off the jaded pseudo-educated bs; this is radically fucking strange and a departure from history up until this point.
That's what's unprecedented. It's not abuse of power or corruption that's unprecedented. It's serial, bald faced lies to a willfully, spitefully credulous audience. Not even Nixon or his defenders were so unscrupulous, although it's fair to say that in Nixon lies some precedence.
I used to think it quaint that the dominant principle behind the 6th Amendment prohibition against compelling testimony against oneself remains the so-called cruel trilemma-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_officio_oat). But I realize now that, even without the metaphysical threat of damnation, a society must leave space for even the most corrupt and malicious individuals to avoid outright lying. Lies are the greatest poison to civil society by threatening the very notion of accountability and therefore of fairness or justice. Even when we know somebody is lying it's crucial that we grant them the fiction of plausible deniability, a quid pro quo for not violating the cardinal rule. In so far as the body politic permits and tolerates open lying, it destroys the last and perhaps only common bond between citizens--commitment to a shared truth, even if only nominally.
When a politician says that they can't remember, or even qualifies what would otherwise be a lie with "not to my recollection", that's actually a powerful gesture--submission to a critical civic virtue. When we get to a point when politicians, especially national leaders, don't bother with such gestures, and supporters don't even nominally demand them let alone exact some price, we're in a very bad place.
EDIT: Now that I think about it, there's solid evidence that Reagan openly lied when he denied any knowledge about Iran-Contra. But I think it's telling that we've convinced ourselves he was suffering from Alzheimers, forcing plausible deniability upon him. Even most Reagan detractors have reflexively internalized that narrative. (Obviously he was suffering from Alzheimers, but it's not very reasonable to believe that he was suffering to such an extent that he lacked the capacity for even complicity.)
"During the Civil War the federal government was responsible for
the greatest amount of newspaper suppression in the nation’s history.
More than 300 newspapers were shut down, most of them Democratic
papers that were sympathetic to the Confederacy. Some historians have
criticized President Abraham Lincoln for allowing such widespread
constraints on the press. This article reconsiders the nature of Lincoln’s
view of press freedom. Based on a letter the president sent to a Union
general, it concludes that Lincoln changed his thinking about midway
through the war and began to believe that suppression of the press was
not the appropriate policy."
He was arguably more powerful than the Presidents he supposedly served.
But I'm familiar with Hoover; this is wildly different. For one thing, unless I'm mistaken, he was never actually President. "Arguably more powerful than the Presidents he supposedly served" is a neat line and not unreasonable, but doesn't really approach what I'm arguing: that this moment is without precedent in American (world?) history.
That's because the story here likely goes beyond simply AMI going after Bezos at the White House's direction - that would be a hell of a story but also hardly original.
A President conspiring with two separate foreign powers to undermine our elections in order to enrich himself is just one part of the overall story that I contend is novel here. It may not even be the seediest part, depending on what comes of, say, the Seychelles meeting.
If it happened, even then I think it would not be unprecedented -- I'd have to think for a bit about specific examples but I suspect we've even done it to other countries ourselves.
Wait, they are? Who?
Yet all the jaded Hacker News historians around here haven't really pointed out any actual incidents in history that approach this story. "You should read about Hoover" or "Abraham Lincoln did some bad shit during the Civil War" doesn't really approach the level of "President conspiring with two separate foreign adversaries/frenemies to undermine American elections, enrich himself and blackmail his enemies" to say nothing of all the juicy details we don't yet know.
If Republicans were guaranteed to keep the President and VP slot, you'd see an impeachment much more easily. I don't think any Republican will want Pelosi a heartbeat away from the Presidency unless Trump's crime was so clear and egregious that 2/3 of the country wanted him gone.
And 230yrs is pretty young for a country.
The former was impeached for firing the Secretary of War without consent of the Senate, and refusing to reinstate Stanton in that position when it did not ratify the dismissal. Acquitted by one vote.
The latter was impeached for lying about inappropriate personal behavior, and obstruction of justice for witness tampering and impeding investigations. Acquitted.
Trump could be impeached by the House for a misdemeanor as inconsequential as littering in a national park. And the standard of proof for conviction in the Senate is not specified. It could be as low as "a police dog alerted on his hamburger wrapper" if his loyal contingent has 33 senators or as high as "we need to analyze, line by line, the source code for the video encoder of the camera that recorded the president dropping the wrapper on the ground, to ensure it has not been tampered with by terrorist immigrant caravans" if his contingent has 34 senators. It is not specified by the Constitution, so it is de facto determined ad hoc by the Senate and chief justice at the time of the trial.
It should be obvious that suspected crimes that are more severe than firing cabinet officials without permission, or covering up a political scandal--such as those imputed to Nixon during the Watergate burglary investigation, or suspected acceptance of foreign emoluments--should be impeached more readily. But as long as the Senate is needed to convict, and the burden of proof is not specified, then the House cannot realistically impeach, and expect a conviction with a president-supporting Senate in place, until the case against can meet the standard of "beyond even petty, unreasonable, and dubiously-contrived doubts". And that is solely so that when the Senate refuses to convict anyway, the evidence and the vote against conviction can be used against the party in subsequent election campaigns.
I have little doubt that the current president will be confronted by a stack of previously sealed criminal indictments on the afternoon of the next president's inauguration day. Those cases will be tried in courts with a fixed standard of proof--beyond reasonable doubt for criminal cases, and preponderance of evidence for civil cases.
The precedent has already been set there also -- both Bill and Hillary Clinton have remained free of prosecution in spite of all the many criminal conspiracies they engaged in.
There's no debate there was just as much, if not more, dirt and conspiracy around them when they were in office as there is around the current occupant of the White House.
There are almost certainly more claims made about/against the Clintons than there are about/against the Trumps. But many of the claims against the Clintons haven't had enough "there" there for anyone but, well, conspiracy theorists to run with them. There have been, as far as I know, considerably fewer actual legal investigations against the Clintons, their associates, and their businesses than against the Trumps, their associates, and their businesses, and certainly far fewer actual charges and indictments.
There's a lot of political history behind the campaign against the Clintons, and a lot of it's fascinating -- but it's not actually a history of a corrupt criminal enterprise, at least on the part of the Clintons. It's the history of personal vendettas and rich conservative ideologues, and the history of the birth of the modern right-wing media movement, starting with the Arkansas Project.
The Trump Organization also has a lot of fascinating history, but you know what? From all appearances, it may well be a history of a corrupt criminal enterprise.
Bill Clinton's supposed "conspiracies" are mainly sexual assaults and their ensuing covers-up. Some of his accusers received cash settlements, and presumably would not testify against in any criminal trials. The remainder apparently did not leave enough evidence by the time Clinton left office to pursue criminal charges, or did not come forward until #MeToo emboldened them to do so, long after he left office, and possibly after any relevant statutes of limitations had elapsed.
If Bill Clinton was indeed as dirty as Donald Trump appears to be, he was certainly better at cleaning up the evidence of it. He may have also pursued a policy of being more honest in less critical situations, such that he could attempt a lie--and still be believed based on reputation--when a deception would benefit him most. Furthermore, fewer of Clinton's former aides, employees, and associates were indicted and convicted during his term in office.
It is possible that Clinton was not charged because he was a more cautious criminal. It is also possible the reports of his crimes were invented or exaggerated to weaken him or his wife politically. It is also possible that I think Trump's suspected crimes are so much more severe than Clinton's that the best fixers in the country can't massage them away.
In any case, that's a fallacy of distraction. It doesn't matter what anyone else did but Trump, when the states' attorneys come knocking on Trump's door. They have prosecutorial discretion, and many have political ambitions of their own, so it may well be a matter of whether going after a former president and getting the conviction will help them more in the future than permanently burning all of that president's remaining political allies. Clinton can still pull in some votes and some campaign contributions. Even Nixon had folks that would still go to bat for him after he resigned. Trump is burning his (R) bridges, and snubbing all possible networking opportunities with the (D) side. It's almost like he has no conception whatsoever about how he can stay politically relevant--or at least politically protected--after leaving office.
What world do you live in that you should continue to make such baseless claims and expect to be taken seriously?
Washington is full of people who want power. They posture and make noise about political sides and beliefs, but in reality most of them are on the same side -- the side of the elite. They want power and money and don't like outsiders. The current inhabitant of the white house isn't part of the gang, and a significant portion of both camps (well, all of one camp and a portion of the other) are working very hard against him every day.
Surely you jest.
His "joke" was deliberate treason.
Pundits understood him literally, so they failed to understand him at all. His nomination competitors also saw him in this light and ultimately failed. Mostly, J think they failed to understand his communication style1. Occasio on the Dem side uses some of this same comms style for the left and it works to a degree, but the left is more uptight about being PC in comms so cant go as far afield with it.
Kerry undermining foreign policy is closer to treason but no one bothers cuz he’s an old hand. Let’s say the Dems win the next cycle, but then as they try working with Russia or Iran on things, Bolton struts in on visits to give his two cents...
Basically, I think many people try using a standard/traditional comms framework to parse his comms, but he uses a different more blue collar style. Not frat style of a GWB, or the ancient oratorical style of Obama.
Obviously people are disagreeing with me, but I'd suggest reading what some linguists and political theorists have to say.
If that argument held any water we'd have to erase all attempted communication-based crimes: blackmail, libel, bribery, etc.
"Yes, my Email said I wanted to blackmail Jeff Bezos, but I wasn't being literal your honor" -> "OK, you're free to go"
Sorry, words matter especially when they have consequences and impact people's lives.
I'm sure he could use steganography to signal this or that, if need be.
I mean, come on, are you going to say Waters was "threatening" here: "I did not threaten [Trump] constituents and supporters. I do that all the time, but I didn't do that that time," Waters said to laughter from a crowd in Los Angeles."
You have to take context into consideration.
He's widely known to have paid for and used dirt on his enemies to influence things to his advantage.
I think like most con men he likes to boast about what he's doing even if it's illegal. Or after getting away with it for so long and seeing others do it too, it just feels normal.
I think he did use back channels with Rodger Stone to execute the crime, but he probably didn't even know it was a crime because he's been getting dirt on people his whole career. The only problem with this time was it was a Presidential election and a foreign power.
This argument was always embarrassingly stupid, but anyone still making it after Trump shut down the government for a month over literal wall construction has forfeited their right to be taken seriously at all.
So then if _The Wall_ was figurative, why did he shut down the government over its funding?
"No he meant that one literally."
Okay... So what about the fact that the wall would be funded by Mexico? He claimed that he would literally make them write a check.
"That was obviously figurative."
An exhausting stretch of logic by those who can't burden themselves with introspection.
It's like when Dems say they want to abolish ICE. That's what their base want to hear. Do they really think ICE is going to be abolished? No, do they like hearing that because it rings nicely in their ears. yes!
Let's abolish ICE is the lefts version of "Mexico will pay for the wall". When they say Abolish ICE, they mean we'll (try to) do the dreamer things and we'll be less literal on refugee interpretation (and include economic migrants as definition of a refugee) for example. And, if it doesn't happen (not enough internal support) we'll blame the Repubs, no loss on their side. This is how political comms works.
Don't try and hang them on each and every word. You'll miss what they are saying.
Yes, they do.
They may not think the functions are going to be eliminated, or most of the rank and file staff removed from government service, any more than when the predecessors of various parts of ICE, like the INS, were abolished before it.
You're right about Occasio-Cortez: she is shaping up to be about as bad as Trump in this respect. I'm not quite sure which of them is worse, but I know the prospect of her someday getting to the White House is a chilling prospect, even though my political leanings are in that direction. She appears to be about as dangerously ignorant (and perhaps callous) of facts of situations. The only mitigating factor for her is that perhaps experience will temper this, and maybe she is just uninformed but not unwilling to learn.
AOC is not eligible to run for president until she is 35. These facts might calm your fears.
Can you back up that most independents want a wall? The polling I've seen says otherwise.
"CBS News polling from mid-November found that a majority -- 59 percent of Americans -- oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a partisan issue, though. A large majority of Republicans support the wall -- 79 percent. A majority of independents -- 66 percent -- oppose the wall, and 84 percent of Democrats are also against it."
Whether his statements during the campaign were taken literally or not it appears he was taken seriously by enough people to win him the nomination and the election. I think more than anything they bought into his intent. And his values however we may choose to the define them resonated with them.
It's also a bit of a problem for a representative government, since it means you cannot take any of Trump's statements as a forecast of his policies.
Like I said elsewhere, it's akin to the Dems "We'll abolish ICE". Some people will believe that literally, but it's not meant to be taken that way. They mean some reform and some policy changes. A redressing, but that's not what the base hears.
The only confusion I’ve seen is from people who think “abolish ICE” is equivalent to “end all border and immigration enforcement.”
Taking on Amazon cybersecurity could be a job for the likes of the NSA, but accessing a cracked phone without being caught is almost amateur level hacking.
For background, see Troy Hunt's explanation for this data . He certainly didn't add Ms. Sanchez's passwords to this. The MEGA uploader could have, one supposes, but that pushes the timeline back to early January. The idea that someone was sitting on all these creds (140M email addresses in this breach that HIBP has never seen before.), and then released them as a smokescreen for Ms. Sanchez's would be, let's say, conspiratorial.
Government entity accessed them? I'd say it is much more likely that someone got the texts off his mistresses phone (whether willingly or not).
It could be a government, it it could be Bezos' wife, Sanchez's brother or ex husband, or just someone with a knack for social engineering who thought there was a lot of money to be made.
If you want exotic explanations, the images could have been recovered by Van Eck phreaking too, I suppose.
More likely explanation is something like the geek squad scandal where someone with physical access to the device (e.g. cell phone repairman, personal assistant, hotel maid) copied the photos.
Why would a Government agency risk burning a zero day if they can just pay that lady or blackmail her with something else?
Hacking implies a sophisticated attack.
Not saying either government didn't do it. Following paxys line of thought I would however agree that hacking is not the most likely explanation in how the private data was taken.
Social engineering is sometimes also described as an "hack" but I doubt that is what Bezos implies with the word.
Depends on the audience I guess. The big majority of hacks are not sophisticated at all. There's also so many people that use it without an implication on the grade of sophistication.
But one thing is true, we can't possibly know for certain his intentions by using that word :-) so these are just our opinions for now :-)
to you and me, yes. probably also to Jeff Bezos. but to the general public (arguably the real audience here), hacking is anything between guessing someones weak password and sophisticated attacks like stuxnet.
As an example: consider the FBI pushing Apple to help them decrypt a terrorists phone from several years ago. They finally got in because the phone was a particularly old model without a secure enclave and (from memory) they ended up buying a 0day for a considerable sum to do it.
1. Government hacked
2. Not government hacked
I'd wager that count(2) is by far the largest. Sure governments do it, but they literally don't have nearly as much human-attention and interest available as the rest of the entire human race.
People like sharing salacious things with their besties, man or woman.
"Just blackmail the richest man on the planet, that will totally work!"
That we know of. The money coffers owned by the house of Saud run way deeper than many realize.
Individuals that are now or have been heads of state may have had opportunities to seize or otherwise employ state-owned property for their personal enrichment. Dictators over petroleum exporting nations are all likely richer than Bezos, in ways that we could never expect Forbes magazine to be able to verify, or even begin to investigate.
People whose wealth came mostly from publicly-traded stocks and real estate in nations with public records of title transfers can be more easily tracked and verified.
Given the number of people and media who seem to be convinced without a doubt that Trump is being blackmailed by Russia...
Even the left used to like him until he ran for president.
It's a fact that Mr Trump has been bankrupt six times. It's a fact that he has not shown his tax returns. His business dealing with Russia are under investigation.
He has never been bankrupt himself. There's a significant difference.
> Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, although in 1990 he came within one missed bank loan payment of doing so, agreeing to a deal that temporarily ceded management control of his company to his banks and put him on a spending allowance.
Personal bankruptcy in all but name.
It is not a leap to suspect Russian banks (that are on record as loaning him money) have financial leverage over him.
I wonder what happens to the supporters of the president once the walls come crashing in. The man is a criminal many times over, proven in court many times over. Why is it a surprise that his current endeavor is just another grift?
As observed elsewhere, Ms. Sanchez's phone could have been accessed by any number of parties. It certainly wasn't "inside the firewall". So it could have been the Saudis, and those murderers have incentives to embarrass Bezos. It could have been the Russians. It could have been Amazon short-sellers. It could have been Wal-Mart. It could have been the proverbial fat guy in his mom's basement. At least Guccifer 2.0 hasn't come up.
Pecker is a moron though. How could Bezos possibly respond to this in any other way than what we see here? Trump seems to surround himself with morons.
> Saudi Arabia paid $55 million to purchase iPhone malware made by NSO Group, according to a recent report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz
The Saudis really disliked the Washington Post digging into their murder of Khashoggi, it doesn't seem too crazy that they set their sights on the boss and ended up stumbling upon some juicy texts and pics. The really interesting part is how they got to AMI. I have to imagine there is a Trump connection somewhere along the way.
... I'll show myself out.
I heard "amazon Machine Image" and thought WTF - are the AMIs compromised....
Government dirty tricks rarely involve their A team, because when doing something illegal loyalty is even more important than competence.
Cf. "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"
Of course, one doesn't detect a great deal of self-respect in the upper echelons of power in more "democratic" nations, either.
The theater was all for nothing, as real world consequences show they could have murdered the jouralist in cold blood and broad daylight.
The Saudis seem like a much more likely party to do it in my opinion, mostly because we know they are willing to do a lot worse against people they oppose (or who oppose them).
That being said, I also think that playing the "A government hacked my phone" is a much better play on behalf of Bezos then claiming it was done by someone accessing his or Sanchezs phone (for example her brother who is supposedly a Trump supporter, like the link in the end suggests).
What happens is something approximately like this:
Saudi military intelligence puts through a request via appropriate channels to the Five Eyes for a tap on some low-profile woman's phone, claiming it's necessary in pursuit of a counter-terrorism objective. This ends up with GCHQ rather than NSA (NSA spies on Brits, Brits spy on Americans, they work at adjacent desks and share info: this is the traditional work-around for laws banning domestic spying) who happily hand over the contents of a foreign POIs phone to an allied intel agency.
Nobody at any senior level has a clue what's going on under cover of surveillance: stuff like this happens thousands of times a day. Meanwhile, the Saudi officer in charge of the kompromat on Bezos now has the dodgy photos off his girlfriend's phone ...
If GCHQ doesn't work, route through some other allied SIGINT agency with cooperation via NSA, preferably in a country where the Khashoggi thing is just another "foreigners doing horrible things to each other" back page story and nobody has a clue about Jeff Bezos' divorce.
TLDR: the global war on terror has given us a global hairball of inter-tangled intelligence sharing arrangements, and these can be manipulated for pleasure and profit by any sufficiently corrupt party who is plugged in to it.
It’s hard to conclude that five eyes isn’t a domestic spying proxy program.
One is resource management and risk evaluation (aka, there are bigger problems), another is knowledge of FIS operations and many others...
You've incorrectly attributed the argument from a specific offshoot (that foreign spy tools persist because of limited counterintelligence resources) and applied it to the root supposition (that nation states utilize parallel construction, through a conspiracy with known adversaries as a matter of course and that spy infrastructure is built specifically for that purpose).
Of course it's more likely that someone (anyone, really) just pwned Ms. Sanchez's phone directly.
They are huge customers for British arms sales (look up the Al Yamamah deal — roughly US $100Bn in business). They're known to have bought surveillance and intelligence monitoring software from Israel. They're in everybody's back pockets, and in their wallets.
As a Brit, I find your belief that US citizens are immune from monitoring by the intelligence services of other nations (when that kind of money is passing hands) touching ...
As are a lot of countries. Does not mean we will allow surveillance without any questions.
>As a Brit, I find your belief that US citizens are immune from monitoring by the intelligence services of other nations (when that kind of money is passing hands) touching ...
I never said or implied that.
Read the comment again:
>No Five Eyes member is going to randomly tap some US citizens phone because the Saudis asked without some serious investigation.
(You're looking at the present-day for context, but these agencies run on protocols that have built up over many decades, dating back to the Cold War.)
I would welcome your conjectures on how the spooks controlled Obama. His enduring legacy may be heavy use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, and a radical expansion of "death from the sky", which seem incompatible with his personality, creating a mystery: What leverage did/do the spooks have on him?
My read on BHO is that as a non-white guy super-achieving in a quietly racist political climate (we've subsequently had a refresher course in American racial politics: it never went away) he was at pains to avoid alienating factions that might work against him.
He was also a lawyer: not just any lawyer, but a former editor of the Harvard Law Review (a plum niche reserved for star pupils at the #1 law school in the United States, often an early sign that the individual is on the road to the Supreme Court). Instead of heading for the bench Obama went into politics, but he is above all else a legalist (and a constitutional expert). As such, he worked only within the established legal frameworks, carefully trying to build a platform for incremental adjustments.
The Espionage Age was already a feature of the system before he arrived in the Oval Office: he continued to use it as it was designed. He didn't rock the boat or try to impose a radical agenda on the DoJ. He wouldn't do anything that might give his enemies a lever against him. He was, in fact, a conservative politician: not "conservative" in the sense of Movement Conservativism (which is actually a very radical political platform), but a Burkean conservative.
The spooks didn't need leverage on him: he was theirs from the outset.
For me it checks out - leaking informations sounds like something that Trump or his supporters would do. Why would not they, if they have the option to?
Per the intelligence agencies - are you sure that they are a single entity, where people are of uniform opinion? And every single person follows law to the letter of it? There is the example that those services employed Snowden - if the services were so organised as to avoid such hacks, we would not have heard of Snowden.
Sure, Sanchez' phone might have had leaks in it... but it is just as plausible as a government officials (US or non-US) accessing his phone.
>>For me it checks out - leaking informations sounds like something that Trump or his supporters would do. Why would not they, if they have the option to? Per the intelligence agencies - are you sure that they are a single entity, where people are of uniform opinion? And every single person follows law to the letter of it? There is the example that those services employed Snowden - if the services were so organised as to avoid such hacks, we would not have heard of Snowden.
But from my experience in other government entities, I believe that doing something like hacking into someone's phone, would require approval and support from high enough officials in those organizations, and so far it seems that these organization do still seem to remain professional and not involved in political actions by the president.
I agree that there might be (and I'm assuming there are) private Trump supporters in those agencies, that for example, would do 'a Snowden' and release classified and private information that they shouldn't. But that information first needs to gathered, and I don't think Jeff Bezos has done something to warrant previous gathering of information about him.
(If information about Trump for example is released this way, it would seem more likely to me, because we know they collected that information while thinking he might be a spy).
But once again, I hope I'm not just being hopefully optimistic in my trust of 'the system'.
Reality can be stranger than fiction. With all the new revelations that come out about all these entities on a regular basis - what is to be believed anymore?
But my Bayesian prior of how the world works is that someone had access to someone's phone (his or his GFs) and gave the photos to the Enquirer.
Get the prison cell ready.
But we don't know who Mueller's selfie was of. (there was a claim it was some random who was sexting Guccifer 2 but that doesn't seem like something worth filing)
Maybe the better question is how or from whom he obtained it.
Manafort or Cohen seem most likely sources as Mueller's got all their stuff or maybe the AMI handed it over as part of their cooperation deal.
It's all a little weird as attempting to extort Bezos right now seems insane given the legal peril they are in. This may be worse than their part in election contribution violation they were previously on the hook for.
- https://www.nationalenquirer.com is hosted in AWS
- https://www.nationalenquirer.com is down
gawker was crazy stupid during that timeframe for whatever reason. you can't apply anonymous social media rules to your online publishing business and expect not to be punished.
Foreign agency, different story. But there are enough people with a smartphone in the US that it doesn’t take a state-backed agency to obtain a compromising picture of a well known public figure.
Are you sure that they are a single entity, where people are of uniform opinion? And every single person follows law to the letter of it? Trump could request this task unofficially from someone as a 'favour' - the agency as a whole might not have access to the request.
You can cover up things quietly, but lying to Congress when asked about it carries a very different set of penalties.
Over the last six-months-to-a-year, ruling prince MBS has followed the program of whipping the Saudi Ruling class into submission (metaphorically and literally, with electrical chords). Part of the problem is the princes were stealing so much money that the state of this incredibly wealthy, absolutist theocracy was approaching bankruptcy. Khashoggi left the country at that point and was acting as something like external opposition to MBS, clearly something the prince would not brook.
None of this is to lessen the final brutal act but rather to explain it. If anything, the Saudis are probably extra pissed at the Post for "harboring" Khashoggi.
Here  is a reporter from the Washington Post backing that up
You mean, the newspaper that Bezos owns is backing his story?
Color me surprised.
2. Do X.
Was he actually hacked? Saudi LEO could've easily got those pics from Apple legally.
You think the U.S./Saudi government can remotely grab pics from an iPhone?
Apple has disclosed lots of security info saying even they cannot do this. The iPhone/iOS wasn't built in that way.
I think the leak likely comes from someone close to Ms. Sanchez, or she fell victim to a phishing attack (or account recovery hack).
When Apple was first approached about their role in PRISM they, unlike other companies, chose to outright lie stating that, "We have never heard of PRISM." along with the typical boilerplate about not allowing any government agency direct access to their servers. NSA access is presumably 'facilitated' indirect, explaining why most of all claims specifically state 'direct access' in their releases.
Other companies, for contrast, chose to offer misleading but technically honest responses. For instance Facebook said, "We do not provide any government organization with ~direct~ access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.".
The point of this is that what companies say, especially as it relates to their involvement in government surveillance programs is pretty much meaningless. We live in a world where their lying about participation is not illegal, but telling the truth would be. Quite a dystopic reality in many ways. As an aside this is not to say that leaks came from the government, but rather that it's extremely likely that the government could trivially obtain access to Bezos' online devices if desired. And given his position in the national economy (let alone media and space industries), I would expect such desires have long since existed even if only for 'national security', which in today's world of wide net surveillance happens to overlap with dick pics. And from there all it takes is one bad actor who gets tempted by the potential value of direct evidence showing the world's wealthiest man cheating on his wife.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%...
I'm really wondering what's the cognitive mechanism that allows people to just discard enormous informations like this one.
I think the analogy is even more appropriate, because the general attitude to pollution (especially Climate Metldown) seems to display that same cognitive mechanism you mention. There are the small cumulative effects, the ways in which taking any meaningful measure would uncomfortably interfere with our habits. The social fabric has just molded itself to the absurd reality, and our comfort and complicity is what makes the absurdity inspire oblivion and indifference instead of alarm and indignation. And then one day, unbreathable air, food insecurity, and nominal democracy become facts of life, and the dogma of progress (rather than progress itself) is what remains a constant.
Spooks like dirt and compromising materiel exactly because it is useful for blackmail.
While apple says they are end to end encrypted, I also assume they work with the FBI/whoever to catch owners of illegal content, so they probably would have a way to get the unencrypted content.
they don't just give the fbi data access without a court order
Don't think for a second that major players can't dial in whenever they want.
So it may have been his mistress' phone that was compromised.