American intelligence agencies were bugging Princess Diana's telephone over her relationship with a US billionaire, the Evening Standard has learned.
She was even forced to abandon a planned holiday with her sons in the US with tycoon Teddy Forstmann on advice from secret services, who passed on their concerns to their British counterparts.
Both US and British intelligence then forced Diana to change her plans to stay with Mr Forstmann in the summer of 1997, saying it was too "dangerous" to take her sons there. Instead the princess took the fateful decision to take a summer break with Harrods owner Mohamed Fayed. This ultimately led to her going to Paris with his son Dodi, where they died in a car crash.
The revelation from independent inquiries by the Evening Standard comes as it emerged that Princess Diana's phone was bugged by US intelligence agencies on the night she died without the permission of the British secret intelligence services.
It seems our government was concerned about her relationship with U.S. billionaire Teddy Forstmann, a name which is not familiar to this writer. Diana reportedly planned to travel to the U.S. with her two sons, William and Harry, to be with him, but British intelligence vetoed the trip based upon U.S intelligence concerns about her security. If she had made that trip, the Evening Standard speculates she may never have met Dodi Fayad and been in Paris on that fateful night, August 31, 1997. The newspaper talks about more files the Secret Service gathered on Diana:
The Evening Standard also understands that US secret services have a number of secret files on Diana and her closest associates that are held by the national security agency. The files, which include reports from foreign intelligence - thought to include MI5 and MI6 - come under both top secret and secret categories. The reports cannot be released because of "exceptionally grave damage to the national security". The documents on the princess seem to have arisen because of the company she kept rather than through any attempt to target her.
This revelation is very disturbing. You can count on it having several immediate consequencs. American public opinion in Britain, which is already riding low, will be further dampened. Conspiracy theories, which have already been ramping up, are going to escalade and make her death a greater subject of conspiracies than the death of former President John F. Kennedy. More importantly, there will be even greater distrust of America among Muslims and Arabs than there already is. Conspiracy theorists, fueled by claims of Dodi Fayad's father, believe she was killed to prevent a marriage between a British royal and an Arab.
I can't wait to hear former President Clinton's reaction to the disclosure. Let me guess what he'll say: "This is the first I've heard about it. It's news to me." I took a gander at a number of the liberal blogs today after the news broke. The same bloggers who bash Bush endlessly over the U.S. government's wiretapping program for combatting terrorism are noticeably silent on this topic. Can you imagine their reaction if Bush had been the one wiretapping Diana? It makes no sense to me at all that U.S. intelligence agencies could claim this information to be "top secret." The American people should demand an explanation, but I'm guessing this won't be a high priority for the new Democratic-controlled Congress.
UPDATE: CBS News is reporting tonight that the NSA is denying it eavesdropped on Princess Diana's calls, although it had files on her because of conversations she had with other persons of interest. According to the report, more than 1,000 pages are held by an unidentified U.S. intelligence agency on Diana. The report speculates on why the U.S. may have been keeping tabs on her. One reason given is as a favor to the British because she had been stripped of her official security detail after her divorce from Prince Charles. The other reason is based on her work in eradicating land mines and reports she came into contact with known arms dealers as part of her humanitarian efforts. The report notes that this news will give conspiracy theorists more reason to believe her death was not an accident.