Saudi Arabia Claims No Involvement With Bezos/Pecker Blackmail

Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir said that his country had “absolutely nothing to do” with the National Enquirer’s reporting on or attempted blackmail of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. The Saudi official spoke during an extensive interview on the CBS show Face the Nation on Sunday morning.

Talking with host Margaret Brennan, Adel al-Jubeir also expressed other provocative opinions concerning Saudi/American relations and the killing of exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi. For example, he continued to maintain that the Saudis have done a thorough investigation of Khashoggi’s murder.

We believe that we have the means to do the investigation ourselves,” @AdelAljubeir told @margbrennan
@AgnesCallamard had said Saudi Arabia “seriously curtailed and undermined” attempts to investigate #Khashoggi‘s killing

Bezos wrote a blog post on Thursday accusing the Enquirer’s parent company American Media Inc (AMI) of attempting to blackmail him. He said that they had threatened to publish “intimate photos” he texted to his mistress unless he announced in public that the Enquirer’s reporting on him was “not politically motivated.”

In his posting he also mentioned Saudi Arabia’s unhappiness with the Washington Post’s coverage of the murder of Khashoggi. At the time of his death he was a writer for the Post, which is owned by Bezos.

Bezos also referred to various reports in the media about links between AMI, Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump. AMI is owned by David Pecker, a close friend of Trump.

On Face the Nation Brennan asked Adel al-Jubeir if the Saudi government was involved in the Enquirer/Bezos controversy, and he responded by saying:

“This is something between the two parties, we have nothing to do with it. It sounds to me like a soap opera.”

Jubeir said he was not aware of any links between the Saudi government and AMI or its CEO David Pecker.

AMI said on Friday its reporting on Bezos was lawful and it would investigate his claims.

In the Sunday interview the Saudi official also said they were very unhappy with legislation being proposed in the U.S. Congress to sanction Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s murder.

“Basically what this legislation is doing is it’s providing ammunition to the ‘death to America’ crowd.”

@margbrennan asked @AdelAljubeir about accusations by @SenatorCollins & others that Saudi Arabia committed “unacceptable violations of human rights”

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi has seriously strained the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The comments by Jeff Bezos have further inflamed a very serious situation. Today’s comments from the Saudi foreign minister are not surprising, but they will not resolve the controversy.

The truth is it still appears that Saudi Arabia was involved in the killing of a journalist who criticized their government. And it also appears that they were involved in the disastrous attempt to blackmail Bezos who in addition to owning the Washington Post also is the world’s richest man.

This will not end well for the Saudis, for David Pecker, or for Donald Trump.