White House rushes to stop international dust up over wire tap misstatement
This afternoon the White House assured British Prime Minister Theresa May it would not repeat allegations that Britain’s GCHQ spy agency had helped former President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald Trump, May’s spokesman told the press.
During his Thursday afternoon press briefing White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Thursday quoted Fox News Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. Spicer told the press that on Tuesday Napolitano, said that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) signals intelligence agency had helped then President Obama wire- tap Trump.
The GCHQ was quick to call the assertion by Spicer “ridiculous”.
“We’ve made clear to the administration that these claims are ridiculous and they should be ignored and we’ve received assurances that these allegations will not be repeated,” the spokesman told reporters.
Trump, tweeted this month that his Democratic predecessor had wiretapped him during the late stages of the 2016 campaign. The Republican president offered no evidence for the allegation, which an Obama spokesman has said was “simply false”.
On the “Fox & Friends” program, Napolitano, a political commentator and former New Jersey judge, said that rather than ordering U.S. agencies to spy on Trump, Obama had obtained transcripts of Trump’s conversations from GCHQ so there were “no American fingerprints” on it.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said British officials had expressed their concern to senior Trump aides but the official declined to explicitly apologize for Spicer’s citation of the Fox News allegations.
A GCHQ spokesperson told Reuters on Friday: “We can’t go into private conversations but as the No. 10 (Downing Street) spokesperson has said this morning, there have been reassurances that these allegations won’t be repeated.”
Number 10 Downing Street in London is the British Prime Minister’s official residence.
Separately, in London, a UK government spokesman said: “Our Ambassador has been in touch with Sean Spicer and others at the White House. Our National Security Advisers have been in touch as well. We have made clear these allegations are utterly ridiculous, and have received reassurances that they will not be repeated.”
Some quotes used in this story were from ASSOCITAED PRESS and Reuters.