White House backs down from claim GCHQ spied on Trump

GCHQ does not makes public statements on its activities, and Friday's intervention was seen as a sign of real anger at the allegations.

In the subsequent Fox report, Napolitano claimed that "three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command" to order the surveillance.

Trump made the accusation on Twitter earlier this month, saying Obama ordered his phones tapped during the election.

One was an allegation from a Fox News commentator, Andrew Napolitano, that Obama used British spies to snoop on Trump. "He didn't use the NSA, he didn't use the Central Intelligence Agency. he used GCHQ, '" Spicer had said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for GCHQ 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".

The spokesman added that it would be impossible for GCHQ to spy on Mr Trump as both countries are members of the Five Eyes alliance - a joint intelligence co-operation agreement which also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

"We have a close special relationship with the White House and that allows us to raise concerns as and when they arise as was true in this case".

The official said there were "at least two calls" from British officials on Thursday and that the British ambassador to the United States called Spicer to discuss the comment.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that the British government made it clear to Spicer that the "ridiculous" claims should be ignored.

But Mr Spicer responded to reporters questions yesterday by repeating the analysts claims. He continued to allege the US National Security Agency has given GCHQ access to "the digital version of all electronic communications made in America in 2016".

The chancellor, who was making her first visit to the White House since Mr Trump took office, did not weigh in on the 2013 incident, which angered many in Germany. Leader of the Liberal Democrat party Tim Farron tweeted that it damages trust. But the story was about intelligence agencies monitoring Russian officials - and how, through that regular surveillance, they may have discovered contacts between those officials and Trump associates.

Trump steps up his efforts to win support for the Republicans' plan to dismantle Obamacare, wooing some conservative lawmakers at the White House ahead of an expected vote on the legislation in the House of Representatives next week.

  • Leroy Wright