Donal MacIntyre — The Express Sept 15, 2013
A key UK security industry source who served in the military told the Sunday Express that GCHQ remotely switched on recorder modes right up to the moment the couple took their fatal Paris car trip.
If made public, the phone recordings could help throw light on sensational claims by former SAS serviceman Soldier N that Diana was murdered by an SAS assassination squad.
The bugging claim came as a separate Sunday Express investigation revealed that film footage of Diana’s last hours was “kept secret”. An exhaustive inquiry in the French capital has confirmed the existence of CCTV records of the night Diana died in August 1997.
Many belong to private companies who used France’s strict privacy laws to avoid having to hand them over to the police.
Just as crucially, a key traffic camera overlooking the scene of the crash in the Alma Tunnel was said to be switched off or malfunctioning.
However, one operator contacted 16 years on said: “Images would have been available if people wanted them to be. The truth is that every excuse possible was made to make sure that live film could be kept secret.
“This suited lots of powerful people, especially those who wanted to dismiss the crash as a simple traffic accident.”
The operator, who asked not to be identified because he “fears for my safety”, said he was convinced that all available film was “rounded up and hidden or destroyed”.
Military sources have claimed Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, was blinded with an intense flash of light forcing him to lose control of their Mercedes on an underpass after leaving the Ritz hotel.
Now the security source, a specialist operative who has engaged in “black ops”, is alleging that Diana’s phone was accessed remotely, even when switched off.
“There is no doubt that this technology was used on Diana and all around her, and for very human reasons she was regularly listened to live in the moment,” said the source.
GCHQ operatives spent a great deal of time recording and listening live because she was a priority intelligence target and a direct threat to the Crown, he said.
“More than that, she was an icon and the most famous woman in the world at the time and analysts are vulnerable to curiosity as much as anyone else and would have wanted and had the capacity to listen live to the conversations in the car as it sped away from the Ritz.”
As well as these claims, there are suspicions that CCTV cameras were tampered with on the night of the crash.
Pascal Poulain was the commander of the Paris Information and Control Centre which was ultimately responsible for the Alma Tunnel camera that night. Interviewed by British investigators, he said: “In view of the scale of the accident, we tried to see the scene of the accident, using the camera situated at Place de l’Alma.
“That was impossible. In fact the screen showed only a blurred yellow light. We tried to manipulate the camera, that is to use the zoom and manoeuvre it, in vain. We did not have the control.
“By that I mean that another section must have been using the camera and manipulating it and must have not released it.
“It had remained under remote control on another section’s control panel. But it could also have been due to it being out of order.”
Speaking further about the crash, Mr Poulain said that any order to record images taken by the camera would have to have been taken “at the highest level of authority and not by a police officer”.
A spokesman for Paris Urban Traffic Units said they stopped using the camera at 11pm, around an hour and 20 minutes before the crash. In the late Nineties, police officer Eric Gigou led a team given the task of collecting all CCTV images on the route from the Ritz to the Alma underpass.