USA allegations about GCHQ will not be repeated - May's spokesman


On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer set off an worldwide incident when he suggested that British intelligence might have spied on Trump during the campaign in response to a request from President Barack Obama.

The president, in a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, declined to back down from his accusation that the Obama administration had authorized surveillance against him. "I didn't make an opinion on it".

Trump explained that his spokesman was simply repeating what he had heard a legal analyst say on Fox News.

Last on Fox News, on March 14th, Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, 'Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command.

But after GCHQ, which maintains a very close relationship with USA intelligence agencies, gave an uncommonly vehement denial late Thursday, the White House issued a clarification to the United Kingdom government.

Earlier this week, Mr Napolitano, a political commentator and former New Jersey judge, told the Fox & Friends programme that, rather than ordering U.S. agencies to spy on Mr Trump, Mr Obama had obtained transcripts of Mr Trump's conversations from the GCHQ so there were "no American fingerprints" on it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said it has been made "clear to the USA administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored".

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Thursday quoted Napolitano's comments about GCHQ during a testy briefing with reporters.

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"He didn't use the NSA, he didn't use the Central Intelligence Agency, he didn't use the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and he didn't use the Department of Justice", Napolitano said, claiming that Obama used Britain's GCHQ to circumvent USA law.

"Fox News can not confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary".

He said: "I don't know what newspaper you're reading, but I guess that would be an example of fake news".

British officials were quick to rubbish Mr Napolitano's claims earlier this week.

The British MP who now chairs Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee issued a statement today knocking down Napolitano's theory.

Mr Trump made a similar argument in a Wednesday night interview on Fox News, telling the interview host, Tucker Carlson, that the word wiretap "covers surveillance and many other things".

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.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes, said in a statement late on Friday that the Justice Department had "fully complied" with the panel's request.