The full Operation Paget report (.pdf 833 pages) into the death of Princess Diana, is now downloadable from the Home Office website. We will comment on a couple of aspects of this long, and entirely predictable report into the accidental death of Princess Diana etc.
Chapter 15 of the report deals with alleged USA intelligence agency involvement
The actual content of this chapter does not support the leaked / briefed / spun story in last Sunday's Observer newspaper claiming USA National Security Agency interception of Princess Diana's telephone calls, without informing the British authorities.
Chapter 16 deals with British intelligence agencies.
It names two alleged MI6 officers attached to the diplomatic staff at the British Embassy in Paris at the time, for no good reason which sheds any light on the matter, apparently against the wishes of the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DBAC), who run the voluntary Defence Advisory Notice system, even though the "Not Protectively Marked" full report is available for download from the Home Office website.
15. Central Intelligence Agency/National Security Agency, USA
The US National Security Agency admits to intercepting the phone calls of Princess Diana. They admit to having 39 transcripts, 124 pages in total, but they deny that they were specifically targeting her phone conversations.
This information was not revealed as a result of the Operation Paget inquiries, but was subsequently confirmed by their contacts with senior US officals.
The NSA officials say that the fact of these 39 transcripts was revealed via US freedom of Informaion requests to Mohamed Al Fayed's legal team, as part of information of 81 disclosures on a large number of people and organisations.
There are no details about when or where these phone calls were intercepted.
Page 738 of the report:
The NSA had documents relating to the Princess of Wales, as disclosed under FOIA requests brought by Mohamed Al Fayed. The NSA responded in 1999 through Robert Tyrer, Chief of Staff for the US Secretary of Defence and then most recently in 2006 through its Director of Policy, Louis Giles, stating that none of the material held was relevant to the events surrounding the crash in 1997.
Louis Giles further stated, ‘I can categorically confirm that NSA did not target
Princess Diana nor collect any of her communications’.
The NSA declined to disclose details of the material as ‘their disclosure could
reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States by revealing intelligence sources and methods.’
The CIA has always denied any involvement whatsoever.
This does not correspond with the sensational headline in The Observer newspaper last Sunday which sensationally claimed:
US bugged Diana's phone on night of death crash
Mark Townsend and Peter Allen in Paris
Sunday December 10, 2006
The American secret service was bugging Princess Diana's telephone conversations without the approval of the British security services on the night she died, according to the most comprehensive report on her death, to be published this week.
In a move that raises fresh questions over transatlantic agreements on intelligence-sharing, the surveillance arm of the US has admitted listening to her conversations as she stayed at the Ritz hotel, but failed to notify MI6. Stevens is understood to have been assured that the 39 classified documents detailing Diana's final conversations did not reveal anything sinister or contain material that might help explain her death.
The Observer article either jumped to conclusions unsupported by the actual Operation Paget report, or was deliberately spun a line and manipulated by their supposed inside information briefers or anonymous source..
We are going to be even more sceptical of such reports by these two journalists and the Observer, in the future, if such a thing is is possible.
Whatever links or contacts, the driver of the crash vehicle, Henri Paul , may or may not have had with French or British or other intelligence agencies, something which , given his position as head of security at the Ritz Hotel, would not be surprising, they all seems rather irrelevant. If he was part of plot to kill Princess Diana, he would have had plenty of other, better, opportunities to do so, rather than via car crash, in which he himself died.
16. The Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service
Again, there is almost no real detail discovered by the Operation Paget investigators,. They have had to rely on the opinions of former MI5 and MI6 people like Richard Tomlinson, who obviously had no direct access to inside information. They were promised full cooperation by the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, but do not appear to have talked to GCHQ or any MI5 the Secret Service.
The report does, for some reason, name the two alleged MI6 agents attached to the diplomatic staff at the British Embassy in Paris at the time.
Why they did this is mystery, as it does not add to the knowledge about any MI6 involvement, which has been denied.
US and French intelligence agency agents and staff (as opposed to press spokesmen and FOI officials) interviewed by the Operation Paget team have not been named in the report.
Although the British intelligence agency GCHQ is named a few times in passing, in the report, there is no sign that the Operation Paget team asked anyone in GCHQ whether or not they were keeping Princess Diana or her entourage under electronic surveillance, or whether they had asked the NSA or the French authorities to help in doing so.
A further twist, as reported by Dave Osler, is that the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DBAC), who run the voluntary Defence Advisory Notice system, sent a memo to Fleet Street editors, tipping them off that these two British diplomats who are alleged to have been MI6 officers, were going to be named in the Operation Paget report, in the public domain, but appealing that no more than their names be reported, for the usual DA-Notice reasons.
No concern is shown by the DBAC for the identification of one of the paparazzi photographers as an alleged MI6 agent or informer in the report.
This begs the question of why the Operation Paget team named them in the report in the first place, and why the DA-Notice Committee bothers to do this sort of thing at all.
Remember, the full Operation Paget report (.pdf 833 pages) which is "Not Protectively Marked" is downloadable from the Home Office website.
If we had not seen Dave Osler's blog article before downloading the full report, we might have chosen to name these individuals, or have done so inadvertently, in this blog, under the assumption that the Operation Paget report had been officially cleared and appropriately censored before publication.
DBAC have still not really come to terms with the concept of the internet and the world wide web - it still seems to be on their agenda for further discussions.
DBAC do not, for instance, publish these memos on their website, so that responsible bloggers or the media who are not part of the cosy DA-Notices and clubs, can be informed, and choose to voluntarily abide by them or not.
Neither do they publish, say, a public PGP encryption key, or provide an SSL/TLS encrypted web form, so that electronic correspondence about potentially sensitive details can be discussed in private.
We will probably seek clarification from DA-Notice Secretary about this matter.