NSA official: Reports that British spied on Trump 'arrant nonsense'

Jay Jacobs
March 19, 2017

He was asked about Mr Spicer's comments on GCHQ at a press conference yesterday after a meeting with Angela Merkel.

After the news conference Spicer echoed Trump's defiant tone. McMaster also told his counterpart that "their concerns were understood and heard, and it would be relayed to the White House". But the White House's refusal to back down has created more problems for the new administration.

That pledge came after British officials lodged a high-level diplomatic complaint over White House press secretary Sean Spicer's citation of a disputed Fox News commentator's report suggesting the United Kingdom helped Obama spy on President Trump before his election, as first reported Thursday by Bloomberg.

Trump tried to distance himself from the report Friday.

"We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain, very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it".

When asked if there was an apology by the administration to the British government over the matter, Spicer replied, "No, we were just passing on news reports".

Spicer quoted Napolitano's comments as part of a lengthy citation of media reports made in response to questions from reporters about the statement by Burr and Warner.

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SPICER: Again, these are just-that happened, I think, two days ago.

The diplomat and White House official both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman earlier in the day dismissed the charge against Britain's GCHQ spy agency as "ridiculous" and said the White House had promised not to repeat it. We have a close relationship which allows us to raise concerns when they arise, as was true in this case.

Multiple US officials, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, Britain's Global Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and current and former Obama associates have denied all of the Trump administration's claims that Obama directed a spy operation at Trump.

While mainstream media have blasted Trump for claiming Obama had surveilled him, they rarely mention that the New York Times boasted on the front page that Obama had used "wiretapped data" to spy on Trump aides.

The claim is prompting growing bipartisan agreement that there's no evidence to back up the claim and mounting pressure to retract the statement. It's the initials for the British intelligence spying agency.

Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, said on Twitter Friday that "the cost of falsely blaming our closely ally for something this consequential can not be overstated".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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