Britain’s cyber spy agency has fiercely denied allegations it put the communications of US President Donald Trump under surveillance.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited a report by a pundit on Fox News that the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had spied on Trump after he was elected.
In a strongly worded statement GCHQ completely denied the allegations, for which evidence was not provided.
A GCHQ spokesperson 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."
Spicer repeated allegations made by Andrew Napolitano that former President Barack Obama “went outside the chain of command” to use GCHQ to spy on Trump without using American intelligence agencies.
Napolitano, who describes himself as “senior judicial analyst” to Fox News, did not offer substantiating evidence to his allegations.
Trump himself accused his predecessor Obama of “wire tapping” on Twitter earlier this month, again without offering any evidence.
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump also asked “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process” on 4 March, while comparing his actions to disgraced former President Richard Nixon’s orders to spy on opponents in the Watergate scandal.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
However, an intelligence committee in the US Senate dismissed the allegations, saying it had found no evidence to back them up.