"God's access" yielded no files on Diana, says female 007

Other News Materials 26 February 2008 21:28 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - A British female secret agent known only as "Miss X" told the inquest into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed Tuesday that the intelligence services held no files on the pair who died in a Paris car crash in 1997.

The agent, her face concealed, said she was given "God's access" - a codeword for exclusive high-priority access to secret files given to just 3 members of the MI6 intelligence service - to search for records on the pair in the course of 2004 police investigations.

But the database had come up with a "card" on Dodi's father, Mohammed al-Fayed, dating back to the 1980's, related Miss X.

When she punched in Harrod's, the luxury department store owned by al-Fayed, the electronic database showed an entry saying that an MI6 officer had bought a hamper there.

Miss X was the first of a series of still active MI6 agents called to give evidence at the inquest.

Each is identified only by a letter or number, and their faces are hidden, while the public and the press are made to watch proceedings from an annex to the main court room.

Last week, former MI6 boss Richard Dearlove told the inquest that the secret service had "absolutely not" murdered the princess and Dodi who died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

Ian Burnett, counsel for the coroner, asked Miss X: "If for the sake of argument there had been any plan at all involving Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi al-Fayed would that have been drawn up by your searches?"

"Yes, there was absolutely no plan whatsoever," she replied.

Mohammed al-Fayed maintains that his son and princess Diana were murdered by British intelligence in a plot masterminded by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

However, Miss X, who described her position as middle management, revealed that her searches found one reference to Henri Paul, the driver of the crash Mercedes who also died.

Paul was head of security at the al-Fayed-owned Ritz hotel, from where Dodi and Diana started on their fateful journey.

The entry, from a telegram dated November 5, 1997, read: "Presumably as head of security HP (Henri Paul) had been a contact of DST ( France's domestic intelligence service)."

Miss X told the hearing this mention of Paul resulted in a card being created about him in the MI6 database even though he had died.

Focus later turned to allegations that MI6 had at one point considered a plot to kill a Balkan leader, as claimed in 1996 by Richard Tomlinson, a former British spy.

At Tuesday's hearing, Miss X suggested that the plan was in fact a memo that had been rejected at an early stage, before it could be documented.

Written in 1996, it stated: "Tomlinson has told the Sunday Times of a SIS (MI6) proposal of 1993 to assassinate Milosevic."

"This memo was immediately dismissed and expunged from the records," it added.

It is believed that the individual allegedly being targeted by British intelligence was not former Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, but another Balkan leader.

Miss X said that documentation of the original memo could not be found because it had been rejected at such an early stage.

"My understanding is that it got to that stage (one other person seeing it) and somebody said 'cripes, this is ridiculous, what is it doing here'," she said.