Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Britain's GCHQ Dismisses Claims it Wiretapped Trump: 'Nonsense, Utterly Ridiculous'

Britain's GCHQ Dismisses Claims it Wiretapped Trump: 'Nonsense, Utterly Ridiculous'

Apparently, Spicer was so taken by how elegantly this reconciles the president's contradictory claims, it didn't occur to him that accusing a core ally's intelligence service of participating in the illegal surveillance of an American presidential candidate might not sit well with said ally.

The official described the conversation as "cordial" where McMaster described Spicer's comment as "unintentional".

He's also doubling down on his unproven wiretapping allegation with a reference to 2013 reports that the US listened in on Merkel's phone calls.

According to CNN, a USA official said Spicer told the British ambassador that his comments were not meant to endorse the media story he cited during the press briefing.

In his reply, he made a reference to claims that Mrs Merkel had been the subject of surveillance by Mr Obama in 2010 and appeared to lay the blame for the original allegation on Fox News.

One was an allegation from a Fox News commentator, Andrew Napolitano, that Obama used British spies to snoop on Trump.

REPORTER: - rejected White House claims that the alleged wiretapping on you, on Trump Tower, on on Trump Organization or members of your campaign was - that British intelligence was either responsible for it or involved in it.

During a media briefing at the White House on Thursday, Mr Spicer drew reporters' attention to comments made earlier this week on Fox News by former judge Andrew Napolitano in relation to Mr Trump's controversial claim that his NY residence had been bugged.

Claims of GCHQ's involvement were initially made by former judge Andrew Napolitano.

"He didn't use the NSA, he didn't use the Central Intelligence Agency, he didn't use the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and he didn't use the Department of Justice", Napolitano said, claiming that Obama used Britain's GCHQ to circumvent United States law.

But he has provided no evidence for the claim.

"We see no evidence to support his outrageous allegations", she said.

GCHQ never usually comments on criticism of its work beyond saying it always operates under a strict legal framework.

GCHQ said the allegations were "nonsense, utterly ridiculous and should be ignored". The British national security agency called the claim "utterly ridiculous" overnight Thursday and the White House apologized for it.

"This shows the administration doesn't give the allegations any credence", the Downing Street spokesman said.

The British government was not happy.

"I would add, just as a matter of fact, with the Five Eyes pact, we can not use each other's capabilities to circumvent laws", he said. "It's a situation that simply wouldn't arise", a spokesperson for the British government said. "This allegation is so off the scale insane, it's very hard to understand".

"Trump is compromising the vital UK-US security relationship to try to cover his own embarrassment", he said, adding: "This harms our and US security".

"The cost of falsely blaming our closest ally for something this consequential can not be overstated", tweeted Susan Rice, former national security advisers for the Obama administration.

The Senate Intelligence Committee had said on Thursday it had found no evidence Trump Tower had been under surveillance in 2016, contrary to Trump's previous claims.

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