Fingers are pointing at Vladimir Putin after recent claims that the UK’s GCHQ spy agency carried out wiretapping during the election.
Trump started the drama in a series of tweets in early March. He accused Barack Obama of tapping his phones and called Obama a “bad (or sick) guy.”
Trump tweeted the following on March 4.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
Trump stands by claims that he was wiretapped. The president denies that this is merely his “opinion.”
Donald Trump said that “a very talented lawyer” stated on Fox News that Trump was wiretapped. Trump urged reporters to consult that “very talented legal mind” if they want to know more.
Trump told reporters,”[my team] said nothing, all we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on TV. I didn’t make opinion on it, that was statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox [News]. Reporters shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”
It soon emerged that former judge Andrew Napolitano was the one who made the statements when he appeared on Fox News.
Mr. Napolitano stated that Obama used the British spy agency GCHQ, and even defined for viewers who that is.
“[Mr Obama] 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 the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency.”
GCHQ blasted the statements as untrue, reports BBC. GCHQ urged members of the public to “ignore” the statements made by Mr. Napolitano on Fox News.
“Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense.”
In a new twist, some now claim that a Russian fake news blog initially made the wiretapping accusation, reports the Sun.
The wiretapping news was allegedly planted by Putin on a Russian fake news site, then picked up by Mr. Napolitano and Fox News, who reported it as the truth. The Trump administration then allegedly picked up the information and launched those attacks on Obama and spy agency GCHQ.
“President Vladimir Putin’s henchmen are notorious for the black propaganda trick of spreading untrue but highly damaging claims on the internet.”
Spies claim they have identified the Russian fake news site where the allegations were first made.
A source said, “We have identified the site where the claim was first made. The whole incident bears all the hallmarks of the Russians. It’s a shame people who should know better fell for it.”
It was alleged that Barack Obama himself ordered the British spies to wiretap Donald Trump’s phone.
British spies at the GCHQ dismiss this as “nonsense.”
New claims that the Kremlin planted the information on a Russian fake news site have come from a Cheltenham-based “eavesdropping agency.” The agency may, in fact, be GCHQ itself.
Dominic Grieve, chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee — which oversees the UK’s spy agencies — said that it was “unusual” for the GCHQ to issue a statement.
Grieve said that he agrees that it was the right thing to do in this case and that it echoes “the strength of feeling” about the issue.
Mr. Grieve said, “it clearly indicates the strength of feeling about this issue, and I echo that sentiment.”
The Guardian reports that the GCHQ called the wiretapping allegations “utterly ridiculous.”
The claims that British spies were meddling in American affairs under orders from Obama sparked “a full blown diplomatic incident and threatened to put crucial Trans-Atlantic intelligence cooperation at risk,” reports The Sun.
[Featured Image by Mikhail Klimentyev/AP Images]