British intelligence agency GCHQ is strongly denying claims — repeated by the White House on Thursday — that it spied on President Trump.
In a rare public statement reported across multiple media outlets, the United Kingdom’s eavesdropping agency called the suggestion that it surveilled Trump for former President Obama following last year’s election “utterly ridiculous."
The White House has struggled to support Trump’s assertion, first sent out on Twitter, that Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower late in 2016. On Thursday, press secretary Sean Spicer read out a series of media reports in response to a question about whether Trump would back down.
"Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, '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 used GCHQ,'" Spicer said, referring to Government Communications Headquarters, the U.K. equivalent of the National Security Agency.
"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 ... should be ignored," the agency said Friday.
Trump’s claims have found few allies on Capitol Hill. Republican and Democratic leaders on both the House and Senate Intelligence committees say they’ve seen no evidence to suggest such spying against him.