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CNN Today

Dodi Al Fayed's Father Plans to Sue U.S. Government For Documents Related to Death of His Son and Princess Diana

Aired August 30, 2000 - 1:41 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The United States Central Intelligence Agency today denied having any information about a plot to murder Britain's Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Al Fayed. The couple died in a Paris car crash three years ago tomorrow. Fayed's father believes they were murdered by people opposed to the relationship. Today, Fayed announced plans to sue the U.S. government, seeking intelligence information about the case.

Joining us to discuss the lawsuit is Roger Cossack of CNN's "BURDEN OF PROOF."

Can you sue the U.S. intelligence community to get information?

ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Lou, what they are going to do is file a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to try and get all documents relating to the relationship between Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana.

Obviously, what's happened here is that Mr. Fayed's father believes that the United States government has in its possession secret intelligence files, they believe that the -- he believes that the British secret service monitored conversations between Fayed, his son, and Princess Diana, and that some of this information may be here in the United States, and that perhaps the United States Secret Service, or -- excuse me, the United States CIA is holding that information on behalf of the British. Now, having said that, they are allowed to file that lawsuit, but whether or not they are going to come up with something is another question.

WATERS: Has there been any credible reason given behind the theory that the United States would have been monitoring Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana?

COSSACK: Well, Lou, you know, the question you asked me is, is there any credible, and I'm not sure whether there is credible or not. I can tell you what the reasons stated are, is that Mr. Al Fayed believes that the British government did not want his son and Princess Diana to be married, that that is the reason why a great deal of monitoring was done on -- of those two. In Britain, of course, you know, eventually all things report to the royal family and he believes that the royal family did not want Princess Diana marrying his son.

Now, the question of why it was turned over to people in the United States, that's sort of an open question. The reason given was they believe that perhaps the United States is holding it in protection for the British. Is that credible? We'll have to leave that up to our viewers to decide.

WATERS: Of course, we are already getting information that the intelligence community is denying it has any documents. Is that -- I mean, does the intelligence community have any control around this Freedom of Information Act?

COSSACK: Well, the Freedom of Information Act states that -- just pretty much what it sounds like -- that we as citizens, we as people have the right to have documents that our government has in possession under the theory -- absolutely -- look, it's -- we're the citizens, it's our government, they work for us. However, if there are items which would in some ways compromise national security, or shouldn't be turned over because of secrecy requirements, they don't have to turn those over.

And I think probably most citizens today have seen documents that have been turned over that are supposedly under the Freedom of Information Act in which about 2/3 of them are blacked out, and then you end up with a paragraph that, whoever the requester is, gets to see. So far, the CIA says, look, you known, it's not a question of we're going to black anything out, we just don't have anything. Of course, the lawsuit hasn't been filed yet, and we'll see what the response is after the lawsuit is filed.

WATERS: Yes, we will. Roger Cossack, thanks for that.

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