WASHINGTON – America's secretive eavesdropping agency said Tuesday it had never targeted Princess Diana's telephone conversations for monitoring.
The statement by the National Security Agency comes amid media reports in London about secret recordings of Diana's telephone communications that apparently surfaced during the British investigation into her 1997 death in a Paris car crash.
Diana, 36, her friend Dodi Fayed, 42, and the driver of their car died in the Aug. 31, 1997 crash. An investigation later concluded that the driver, Henri Paul, had been drinking and was driving at a high speed.
An official British report into the crash, to be published Thursday, is expected to find her death was an accident, the London Observer reported over the weekend.
The newspaper also reported that U.S. authorities had bugged Diana's phone without the approval of their British counterparts on the night of her death. It said U.S. officials assured British officials the secretly recorded conversations shed no new light on her death.
The National Security Agency conducts secret wiretaping and other monitoring of certain communications when a U.S. threat is suspected. The agency does not publicly disclose its activities, but its operations have undergone scrutiny over its warrantless eavesdropping on Americans after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
In a statement Tuesday, the National Security Agency said it had 39 classified documents containing references to Diana but had never targeted her for monitoring. Those documents were previously released in response to a Freedom of Information Request in 1998, the agency noted.
"As NSA has made clear in the past, the 39 NSA-originated and NSA-controlled documents referenced in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request in 1998 only contained references to the princess and she was never the communicant," said agency spokesman Don Weber. "NSA did not target Princess Diana's communications. Furthermore, NSA has cooperated with the investigations into this tragic incident to the full extent of the law."