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White House Apologizes to Britain for Spy Claims

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Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made an unusual claim. In answering a question about President Donald Trump’s claims his offices were “wiretapped” by the Obama Administration, he said Obama sought help from Britain to spy on the candidate and his staff.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer arrives for the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer accused the news media of 'cherry-picking' information regarding President Donald Trump's accusation that former President Barack Obama wire-tapped Trump Tower. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

During his press briefing on Thursday, Spicer said, “Last, on Fox News on March 14th, Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement.  ‘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, what is that?  It’s the initials for the British Intelligence Spying Agency.  So simply, by having two people saying to them, ‘the President needs transcripts of conversations involved in candidate Trump’s conversations involving President-elect Trump,’ he was able to get it and there’s no American fingerprints on this.’

He continued by saying, “I have one more for you.  To go back to your long list of sort of news reports you mentioned — one that you reached that perhaps the GCHQ was involved.  Did the President ever raise this in his conversation with Theresa May?  And if that were to pan out, would that imperil the special relationship between the two?”

Britain responds to the allegations and the White House apologizes.

The agency at the heart of the Spicer allegations is Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). They issued a rare but scathing response: “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.”

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office also had a response for the U.S. government. James Slack, a spokesperson for the British prime minister said, “We’ve made clear to the US administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored. We’ve received assurances that these allegations won’t be repeated.”

teresa may britain

Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

While there is no official statement from the White House, some have reported that both Spicer and General McMaster, the top National Security Advisor to Trump have privately apologized and pledged to not repeat the claims.

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