GCHQ described the claims as “nonsense” after Donald Trump tweeted that he had been under surveillance
The UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has vehemently denied claims made by an American TV station that it carried out surveillance on Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Presidential election.
Earlier this week, Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano accused GCHQ of helping former US President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald Trump while he was still in office.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer then repeated the claims during a press conference on Thursday, prompting a furious response from the UK intelligence organisation.
“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,” Spicer said during his press conference. “He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI and he didn’t use the Department of Justice.
“He used GCHQ. What is that? It’s the initials for the British intelligence finding agency. So, simply by having two people saying to them president needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump’s conversations, involving president-elect Trump, he’s able to get it and there’s no American fingerprints on this.
“Putting the published accounts and common-sense together, this leads to a lot.”
Although GCHQ doesn’t usually comment publicly on matters, the agency deemed it necessary to make an exception when this blame was laid at its door for Trump’s claim that Trump Tower in New York had been ‘wiretapped’ in the weeks after his election.
A GCHQ spokesman said: “Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
Despite Trump’s claim, which an Obama spokesman described as “simply false,” no evidence of any such surveillance has been obtained.
According to The Telegraph, Spicer and US national security adviser General McMaster have now formally apologised to Britain over the claims, with intelligence sources saying “the apology came direct from them”.
The White House has also assured the UK government that such allegations will not be repeated.
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