GCHQ has angrily denied helping former president Barack Obama to spy on Donald Trump.
The British spy agency told ITV News that any suggestion it was involved in wiretapping the now president “was utterly ridiculous and should be ignored”.
The angry denial came shortly after the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated an unsubstantiated claim, first made by a Fox News analyst, that Barack Obama used the services of GCHQ to monitor Mr Trump’s communications on his behalf – to ensure “there were no American fingerprints on it”.
“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command – 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,” Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey judge turned political commentator, said on Fox & Friends on March 14.
Mr Spicer directly quoted Mr Napolitano as he continued to try and justify the president’s explosive accusation that Mr Obama had “wiretapped” Trump Tower during the election.
Asked whether President Trump had raised the allegation with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Spicer said: “It has not been raised.”
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. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”