The head of the US intelligence services has hit back at US President-elect Donald Trump over claims his department leaked an explosive dossier of claims.
James Clapper, director of national intelligence, denied claims that Trump had tweeted that the document had been leaked by one of the organisations under his control. Clapper said:
I emphasized that this document is not a US Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC. The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.
I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.
The denial comes as another blow to the fragile relationship between Trump and US intelligence services before his Presidency has even begun.
The dossier of lurid personal allegations about Trump was allegedly in the possession of Russian intelligence, who might have been able to use the allegations contained within it to blackmail Trump.
It was reportedly originally written as opposition research on behalf of a political rival during the Republican primary campaign, but has since circulated widely within the US intelligence community, top US politicians such as Senator John McCain, and other media organisations.
CNN first made the document public, after other news publications had refused to publish it having failed to verify the contents. Buzzfeed then published the dossier in full – despite also being unable to verify it.