Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Diana-Hillary conspiracy

The British tabloids are going bonkers over rumors that U.S. intelligence may have tapped Princess Diana's phones on the night of her death (hat tip: Kausfiles). Here's the Evening Standard:

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.

In response, the US has issued what sure sounds like a non-denial denial (via MSNBC):

However, a Homeland Security official told NBC News it is untrue that the Secret Service ever gathered intelligence information on Diana.

“The Secret Service had nothing to do with it,” the official said.

Separately, a former senior U.S. intelligence official said Diana was never targeted for intelligence gathering in any way. But, the former official said, her voice may have been picked up while others were targeted. Even so, he said that as far as he knows, there were no intercepts of her in Paris the night she died, contrary to British reports.

Hmm, the Secret Service had nothing to do with it, eh? What about the CIA, or the FBI, or the NSA, or the DIA?

One theory, gleefully advanced by Mickey Kaus on Slate, is that Bill Clinton wanted to gather information on billionare banker Ted Forstmann -- who Princess Di apparently had a crush on-- because Forstmann was a potential Republican rival to Hillary in the 2000 NY Senate race. But what about the other person in the car that night, Dodi Fayed? It's not like Dodi was the son of an Egyptian billionare who made his fortune by marrying into a family of international arms dealers, right? Right?

The other political angle to justify this completely irrelevant posting: if US intelligence was spying on Diana, it almost certainly was without a warrant from FISA -- get ready for some uncomfortable Democratic wiggling if that's the case!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a relatively simple explanation for what went on: NSA was monitoring her on behalf of the Brits.

This is not as convoluted as it seems at first and James Bamford has documented the information that follows....

The British have their own compound at Fort Meade (NSA HQ) and we have a similar facility in Britain. Both NSA and GCHQ (the British version of NSA) are (well, were) prohibited from monitoring communications within their home countries. The “work around” is that we monitor targets in Britain for the Brits and they monitor targets here for NSA, then share the info. Technically, then, NSA did not monitor a communication in the US and vice versa for the Brits.

-- Big Daddy

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Blog Spam! I didn't know it was possible, but then, I am so trusting and innocent. ... Apparently.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Big Daddy, if you are right, doesn't that raise constitutional questions as well? If intelligence agencies can make end runs by outsourcing prohibitted domestic spying to other countries, that seems almost worse than simply ignoring the FISA court (since at least domestic agencies will still be responsible for the wiretaps, and subject to some Congressional or Administrative oversight).

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben said...
Big Daddy, if you are right, doesn't that raise constitutional questions as well?

Indeed. But nobody seems to care. The information has been out there for some time. The original "don't ask, don't tell."

I'm not suggesting any "conspiracy" -- just the opposite in that it seems unlikely that we (USA) would have any great interest in Di, but the Brits might, so we do the deed, just as they have done for us. But with all "national security" topics, it's mostly guesswork.

-- Big Daddy

3:30 PM  

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