One thousand and fifty secret electronic transcripts made by America’s “spy in the sky”, the National Security Agency, NSA, are believed to contain even more shattering evidence to support Princess Diana’s handwritten letter uncannily forecasting she would die in a car crash.
The NSA tapes show she and her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, were under surveillance by NSA and other intelligence agents before their deaths in Paris.
As pressure mounts for an inquest, these tapes could be a crucial exhibit.
The NSA tapes are stored in a climate-controlled vault at NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade outside Washington. They have been heard by only the agency’s most senior staff.
NSA controls a worldwide electronic eavesdropping system normally only used against America’s enemies.
Dodi’s father, Mohammed al-Fayed, the millionaire owner of Harrods, has waged an unsuccessful battle in the US courts to obtain copies of the tapes. He believes they also contain evidence that his son and Diana planned to marry – and that she may even have been pregnant before her death.
But equally explosive could be the revelations about the intelligence web that electronically enshrouded the Princess in the last weeks of her life.
Israel’s Mossad has never denied it had recruited Henri Paul, the driver of the car in which Diana, Dodi al-Fayed and Paul died. He was deputy head of security at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. It is owned by Mohammed al-Fayed.
Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson has claimed the British Secret Intelligence Service was “actively involved in tracking Diana”. He has said that MI6 were helped by NSA satellite surveillance to maintain watch on Diana and Dodi al-Fayed as they sailed around the Mediterranean on his father’s yacht, the Jonikal, in the weeks before Diana died.
Senior Buckingham Palace aides have been told Diana reveals on the NSA intercepts, explicit sexual details about Prince Charles. She claims his behaviour forced her to have an affair with James Hewitt.
Hewitt, who has so far unsuccessfully failed to sell what he calls “steamy love letters” from Diana, claims the NSA transcripts boost his claims about life in Royal circles.
The Royal Coroner will also have to decide what steps to take to trace secret video tapes Diana is now known to have made months before her death.
Hints of their contents appeared last year at the trial of Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrel, who was acquitted of stealing her possessions. Mention of the tapes was made. But the judge stopped the trial before their contents could surface. Since then, the tapes are believed to be in the custody of Scotland Yard. Last week, they refused to discuss the matter.
There are seven tapes. Each is the length of a Hollywood blockbuster. But if made public – say London intelligence sources – no movie could have their impact.
“Just call them explosive. That’s all I need say”, said a London intelligence source.
While it is not clear what Diana intended to do with the tapes, any plans were ended with her death a few months later.
A Buckingham Palace courtier suggested Diana may have planned to use them as a bargaining tool to try and get a better financial settlement in her divorce. Or maybe to secure her place in history.
More certain, the tapes’ revelations, delivered in the same little-girl voice which was Diana’s carefully cultivated stock-in-trade to convey something sensational, go to the heart of what she saw as wrong in the House of Windsor.
The story behind those tapes is complex and revealing – and casts new light on Diana’s mindset in the months before she died in 1997.
The very existence of the tapes had been a closely-guarded secret until the collapse of the Paul Burrel trial. Then rumours began to emerge that the Queen’s intervention to stop the trial was because she had become aware of the contents of the tapes.
The tapes were shot in March, 1997, five months before her death. Diana sat before a VHS video camera in the main drawing room of her home, Kensington Palace, and spoke in all for 12 hours over a period of ten days.
Only one other person knew she had made the tapes, Dodi al-Fayed. His father, Mohammed al-Fayed, confirmed he wants the Royal Coroner, Dr Michael Burgess, to listen to the tapes – and compare them with the 1,050 intercepts NSA made later that year.
In the past, the US Justice Department has said the intercepts contain matters of “national security”.
Mohammed al-Fayed has fought a lengthy, but unsuccessful, court battle in Washington to obtain copies.
A former Buckingham Palace aide has hinted that the video tapes are Diana’s video diaries.
“In a sense, they are an oral history of the Royal Family. She deals with each member in detail”, he said. He claimed last week that the videos reserve her most stringent criticism for Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles.
“She describes how she caught Charles and Camilla de flagrente. She reveals how she listened in on their phone sex talk. She says that Camilla was the raunchier of the two. She gives examples”, said the source.
He said that on one tape, Diana talks of the “sexual treachery” of her husband. Of how he would make late night calls to Camilla of “a sexual nature”.
“Diana paints a portrait of how she pleaded with him for the sake of the children to give up Camilla. She says that she turned to Anne (Princess Anne) and Andrew (Prince Andrew) for help. Both, she says, refused to lift a finger”, said the source.
“She describes how Charles and other members of the Royal Family – the Queen excepted – used to store expensive gifts in bin-liners.
“On one video Diana describes how there was a right old panic when a member of the Saudi Royal Family came visiting and his wedding gift had been binned. Staff spent hours going through the bags looking for a set of gold goblets.”
“She talks about how his welcome into the Family had turned to cold hostility once the marriage had broken up.
“Undoubtedly, the most revealing part of her video diaries is how Diana saw her future”, the source said.
“She makes it clear that she would do everything possible to make sure Charles never became King. She wanted William to succeed to the Throne when the Queen died. Diana clearly saw her role to be the power behind the Throne.”
Royal Coroner, Dr Burgess, will have to decide how much, if any, of these allegations will be allowed to surface in any inquest on Diana. His only public comment so far was to confirm: “this is a high-profile case and everything has to be weighed very carefully. The questions go behind the ‘survivability’ argument over whether she (Diana) should have gone to hospital sooner. The speed of the car, seatbelts, where people were sitting: these are all relevant questions for an inquest to consider”.
He could hear evidence from NSA officers as well as testimony from MI6, CIA and possibly from Mossad. All the agencies were closely involved in monitoring Diana and her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, in the weeks they spent together before their fatal car crash six years ago this past week.
The potential revelations at the inquest could be even more sensational than the Hutton Inquiry.
Gordon Thomas’s own relationship with Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed began six months before their deaths. Dodi was to produce Gordon Thomas’s screenplay, Mambo. Diana was slated to be the executive producer. The film focused on her interest in banishing land-mines. It was to be shot in South Africa. Brad Pitt, Gene Hackman and Embeth Davitz were slated to star. The first pre-production meeting was scheduled on the very day Dodi and Diana died.
See this website’s files on Diana:
Princess Diana: What Really Happened?
Affidavit of Richard Tomlinson:
“A Harlot, A Trollop and a Whore”