17:11 GMT19 February 2020
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    The Guardian broke the news earlier this month, citing unnamed security sources, that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman may have been personally involved in using WhatsApp to hack into Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' private cell phone.

    Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a letter on Wednesday asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to probe the matter, according to The Hill.

    Murphy reportedly asked that the agencies brief the US Congress on “all preliminary and final conclusions” involved in a potential investigation into the hack of Bezos’ phone.

    The letter to agency leaders came on the heels of a separate inquiry last week sent by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden to National Security Agency (NSA) Director Paul Nakasone raising concerns around devices owned by government officials, in particular smartphones belonging to senior White House advisers including US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, The Hill said.

    Kushner reportedly communicated with bin Salman via WhatsApp in 2018.

    The alleged hack via the Whatsapp messaging tool, according to Guardian sources, happened five months before Saudi agents killed Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. Bezos, currently reported to be the world’s wealthiest person, owns The Washington Post and has led vigils in memory of Khashoggi, often criticizing the kingdom.

    Bin Salman and Bezos met in early 2018, as the Crown Prince conducted a US tour characterized as a charm offensive to attract investment to Saudi Arabia ahead of a much-anticipated IPO for the state-run oil company Aramco.

    The Guardian report implicates Saudi Arabia in previous, although unresolved, hacking scandals surrounding Bezos.

    In early 2019, Bezos made known that the National Enquirer - a US tabloid - had obtained intimate messages and nude photos which it threatened to release. It remains unknown how the Enquirer obtained the purported material, which has not been made public.

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    Tags:
    probe, DNI, FBI, hacking, WhatsApp, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Jeff Bezos, Chris Murphy
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