White House apologises to British government over spying claims

One of Trump's security advisers described Spicer's comment as "unintentional"

White House apologises to British government over spying claims

Image: YouTube/The White House

The White House has apologised to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with his British counterpart on Thursday about press secretary Sean Spicer's comment from the White House podium about a Fox News report that said British intelligence helped wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, a White House official said Friday.
 
The official described the conversation as "cordial" where McMaster described Spicer's comment as "unintentional."
 
McMaster also told his counterpart that "their concerns were understood and heard and it would be relayed to the White House."
 
The official said there were "at least two calls" from British officials on Thursday and that the British ambassador to the United States called Spicer to discuss the comment.
 
"Sean was pointing to the breadth of reporting, not endorsing any specific story," the official said.
 
At a Thursday press briefing, Spicer read out allegations originally made on Tuesday on Fox News by legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, that the UK intelligence agency GCHQ had spied on Trump.
 
"Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, 'Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command (to spy on Trump). He didn't use the NSA, he didn't use the CIA ... he used GCHQ,'" Spicer told journalists.

"Utterly ridiculous"

The accusation prompted a rare public statement from GCHQ.

The denial read: "Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wiretapping' against the then president elect are nonsense.

"They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored."