Ex-UK ambassador to United States calls Trump's wiretap claims 'damaging'
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 21, 2017,
Mar 21, 2017, 2:13
It led to U.S. officials making an apology for repeating the claims which had been initially made on Fox News.
Sir Peter said senior USA officials were well aware the president was playing a "dangerous game" which revolved around Mr Trump's "famous reluctance to admit mistakes" combined with his suspicion of intelligence agencies.
Spicer later cited an unsubstantiated report by a Fox News analyst that alleged Britain's GCHQ - the United Kingdom equivalent of the National Security Agency - had colluded to obtain intelligence on Trump for the Obama administration.
Earlier on Sunday, California Republican Representative Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also pushed back against the claims, asserting that "there was no FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant" for wiretapping.
'That is something both countries have taken for granted since the Second World War.
Spicer later cited an unsubstantiated report from Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said that GCHQ had colluded in obtaining intelligence on Trump.
Trump reiterated those claims when he spoke in front of the media during his meeting with Angela Merkel, and though the British government already debunked those claims, Trump didn't offer an apology for making baseless claims. Fox News now says it can not confirm the report. "All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television".
'We said nothing, ' he said.
Britain's national security adviser, Mark Lyall, had spoken with Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his American counterpart, to diffuse the situation. White House press secretary Sean Spicer also accused British intelligence of tapping Trump's calls at Obama's behest.
Sir Peter Westmacott said officials in the administration were "peddling falsehoods", which risked damaging the US-UK relations in a way that was a "gift to our enemies".
Westmacott said, "I suspect it is not [overstating it] to suggest this story comes from the Russian playbook", he said.
A former British ambassador to the United States has told the White House it is playing a "dangerous game" over claims Barack Obama used GCHQ intelligence agency to spy on Donald Trump.
Comey is also scheduled to speak about Trump's collusion with the Russians that resulted in Vladimir Putin intervening with the presidential elections a year ago.