gavin de becker: Bezos' chief of security is a guardian of the stars

Gavin de Becker, head of longtime security of Jeff Bezos, can manage his own consulting firm, write books, manage the luxury Aprivate terminal at Los Angeles International Airport and develop threat assessment tools. But it is only selling one thing: peace of mind.

For more than forty years, de Becker, 64, has advised the US government, police departments, thousands of famous clients and countless readers on how to defend themselves from threats and stay safe in a frightening world.

His most recent case was for Bezos, Amazon's managing director, who asked him to find out how American Media Inc., which publishes The National Enquirer, got intimate private photos of Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez.

In a blog post on Medium Thursday, Bezos said that David J Pecker, CEO of AMI, was trying to use the photos to blackmail and discourage him – and the newspaper he owns, The Washington Post – to investigate allegations that The Enquirer's coverage of his report was politically motivated.

Bezos said he had asked de Becker "to proceed with all the budget he needed". Those are words that could inspire any employee. But de Becker made the safety of others the work of his life.

His childhood was full of violence and the fear that is now paid to protect others from. De Becker wrote that his mother, a "heroine addict, regularly beat him and her sister and shot at her stepfather. She committed suicide when she was 16 years old.

He investigated stalkers for stars like Olivia Newton-John and Cher. He directs security for public figures who visit President Ronald Reagan and his family at the White House. He worked with Ronald L Goldman's family when he sued OJ Simpson for the 1994 Goldman murder in Simpson's former wife.

For most people looking for De Becker's advice, they can buy peace of mind for a few dollars with a pocket copy of his best-selling book, The Gift of Fear.