Monday, December 11, 2006
They're restoring the Triforium, mighty symbol of L.A.'s "interdependence" and faith in the future! New York has nothing to match it. ...10:02. P.M.
The Brit papers are breaking the story that the Clinton-administration "secret service"** secretly bugged Princess Diana "over her relationship with a US billionaire" Ted Forstmann. Initial questions: What was the grave high-level concern about Forstmann, a big-deal investor, Republican, and education activist? ... What, were they worried Diana might endorse school choice?*** ... And did they have a warrant? ... Plus, of course: What did the Clintons know, etc.?... Intriguingly, Forstmann once made noises about running against Hillary Clinton in 2000. ... ***KEY UPDATE*** Even better, according to a September 15 , 2006 New York Daily News story [via NEXIS]:
CLAIMS THAT Princess Diana dreamed of moving into the White House as America's First Lady were confirmed yesterday by a source close to the politically minded mogul she hoped would take her there.
"It is true," said a source close to Manhattan financier Teddy Forstmann, who considered running as a Republican in the 2000 Senate race.
In his new book, the late princess' butler said she had hoped to marry a New York billionaire and fantasized he would make her the new Jackie Kennedy.
"Imagine, Paul, me coming to England as First Lady on a state visit with the President and staying at Buckingham Palace," remembered her former butler, Paul Burrell, in a book published this week.
Though Burrell doesn't name the mogul in his book, "The Way We Were," his description of a silver-haired bachelor matches Forstmann, who was linked to the Princess in 1994.
"The late princess was very interested in Ted. She was attracted by his philanthropy and his work with children's charities, and by his political aspirations," the source said."
She was excited at the prospect of going to the White House with him. Exactly what you read [in Burrell's book] is accurate."
Update: Carefully worded U.S. denials here. ...
More: The NSA is "working on a statement"! ...
**--Alert reader K.M. notes that the British papers do not capitalize "secret service," suggesting that they may be referring not to the actual Secret Service but to any one of a number of secretive U.S. snooping agencies (CIA, NSA, DIA, etc.). That puts the capitalized statement of an unnamed U.S. Homeland Security official--"The Secret Service had nothing to do with it”--into perspective. ...
More:kf readers are demanding a Ron Burkle angle. There is a connection! Burkle and Forstmann appear to have been principal contributors to the same low-income scholarship fund in the '90s. The rest is all too obvious, don't you think? ... [Thks to reader S.S.] ... Say Anything goes with the "school vouchers" explanation. Yes!
Meanwhile: WaPo's Sullivan and Pincus do their best to calm everyone down, reporting the denials of the NSA (which seems to be restricted to "NSA originated and NSA controlled documents") and the CIA ("rubbish")--denials that are hard to interpret as decisively refuting the "Di-was-bugged" leaks from the British inquest, as reported by at least three British papers. True, they're British papers ... but still! The official British report is scheduled to be made public on Thursday. ... Sullivan and Pincus also assure us there "was never a romantic relationship between" Diana and Forstmann. (So they talked to Forstmann?) And they make it sound as if the "security" problem was simply that the Brits didn't want Diana's sons, the heirs to the throne, staying at a rented house in the Hamptons. But that would seem to explain the bugging only if Diana was its "target," which is exactly what the NSA now denies. Assuming there was bugging, of course! ... Bonus question: Do Sullivan and Pincus have NEXIS? How about Google? You would think they'd at least get their Forstmann "source" to comment on the Sept. 15 Daily News story about Forstmann's White House ambitions (and Diana's ambitions to accompany him) ...