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Americans were bugging Diana's conversations?

india Updated: Dec 10, 2006 22:49 IST
Vijay Dutt
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The most sensational revelation in Lord Stevens' report on the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed, which is due on Thursday, is that Americans were bugging Diana's conversations ostensibly without the approval of the British security agencies. 

The US security agents were even listening to her calls in the hours just before both she and Dodi were in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Dodi's father, Harrods owner Mohammad Al-Fayed who has been orchestrating conspiracy theories for the crash may well take this finding as a vindication of his belief that intelligence conspired to get Diana killed. 

The American agencies have assured Lord Stevens that the 39 classified documents detailing Diana's final talks did not reveal anything sinister or contain material that might help explain her death. But significantly they have not given any reason for the bugging. Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, was reported saying, "There have been rumours that Princess Diana was being bugged by the Americans, so I am not entirely surprised. But it is a major constitutional issue. The question is whether the Americans were doing it themselves or the British government had outsourced it to the Americans to achieve deniability."
  
The Scotland Yard inquiry also bares the fact that the driver Henri Paul of Mercedes in which Diana and Dodi were travelling was on the payroll of the French intelligence. Stevens found that Paul had £100,000 (Rs 8.5 million) stashed in 14 French banks. The report is expected to also confirm that employees of the Ritz in Paris, where Diana and Dodi were staying before the crash, had passed on information to French intelligence services. 

However, Lord Stevens firmly rejects claims of British intelligence involvement. A senior police source played down the significance of links between the hotel and French secret agents. "I'm sure that the intelligence services have informants in the Ritz in London."

Lord Stevens has not found any evidence to support Al-Fayed's belief that Diana was pregnant. He has also reportedly concluded that there was no murder arranged by British intelligence, no establishment cover-up and nothing to sustain the numerous conspiracy theories that have been proliferating in the nine years since their fatal accident. He has, instead, concluded that Diana died in a road traffic accident after her driver, who was drunk at the wheel, lost control of the car.
  
The report will be given to Prince Charles and Al-Fayed on Wednesday, a day before its publication. Palace sources said Charles would explain the report to his two sons personally.

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