Trump Forced To Issue Apology To Britain Over Obama Wiretapping Claims
The White House has issued a formal apology to the British government after Press secretary Sean Spicer repeated claims that the Obama administration used British spies to wiretap Donald Trump.
The claims were made earlier this week by legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said that three separate intelligence sources had indicated to him that the Obama administration had asked Britain’s GCHQ to carry out the surveillance.
“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,” Napolitano said. “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.” Napolitano said on Fox & Friends.
Napolitano indicated that this was done to secure plausible deniability. In other words, even if the Obama administration did spy on Trump, there may never be a way to prove it.
“So by simply having two people go to them saying, ‘President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump, conversations involving president-elect Trump,’ he’s able to get it, and there’s no American fingerprints on this. ”Napolitano added.
Napolitano also noted that the sources informed him that the individual who personally ordered the surveillance, who remains unnamed “[r]esigned three days after Trump was inaugurated.”
The claims made headlines, but were not followed up on until Trump’s press officer Sean Spicer repeated them at an official briefing during a heated back and forth with John Karl, an ABC reporter.
According to reports from the London Telegraph, and Sky News, the British government took umbrage with the claims, leading to the White House having to issue an apology, assuring the Prime Minister that the claims will not be repeated.
The GCHQ itself, which barely ever comments on anything in public, took the unusual step of responding, issuing a statement that read “Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
“The apology came direct from [the White House],” an intelligence source told the Telegraph.
The reports indicate that US National Security Adviser General McMaster contacted Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the British Prime Minister’s National Security adviser, to apologise for the comments. Mr Spicer was reported to have conveyed his apology through Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s US ambassador.
Another source claimed that “This allegation is so off the scale crazy, it’s very hard to understand,” adding that “Under the Five Eyes convention, we never spy on our main allies, and that includes the United States.”
In related developments, Matthew Rosenberg, the New York Times reporter who originally penned the story about wiretapped data being used to investigate Trump and his aides, appeared on CNN, and claimed that it was actually Infowars.com that ‘misread’ the story and spread rumours leading directly to Trump “citing Infowars” to back up claims he was wiretapped.
“So they’ve got one bizarre right wing fringe theory to support another bizarre right wing fringe theory, both of which there is no evidence to support.” Rosenberg stated.
The Justice Department has been given until the end of the month to present evidence to Congress that the wiretapping was undertaken.