London, March 17 (IANS) Britain’s intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has denied the White House claims that it helped former President Barack Obama “wiretap” Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
GCHQ said in a statement that the claims repeated by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday were “utterly ridiculous” and ought to be ignored.
The claims of GCHQ involvement were initially made by former US judge Andrew Napolitano earlier this week and were later repeated by Spicer at a press briefing on Thursday, reported the Guardian on Friday.
“Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, ‘Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command (to spy on Trump). He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA … he used GCHQ,'” Spicer had said.
A GCHQ spokesperson said: “Recent allegations about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then President-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
The denial came as the Senate Intelligence Committee announced it had found no evidence that Trump Tower had been under surveillance in 2016, contrary to Trump’s previous claims that his predecessor Barack Obama had ordered wiretapping, reported BBC.
“Based on the information available to use, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” committee chair Richard Burr said in a statement on Thursday.
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats Party, said Trump was “compromising the vital UK-US security relationship to try to cover his own embarrassment”.