According to a report in The Telegraph, U.S. officials have formally apologized to the U.K. for claiming that British intelligence agencies spied on President Trump during the election campaign at the behest of President Obama. The British newspaper reports that British intelligence sources say the apology came directly from White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Gen. H.R. McMaster, the U.S. national security adviser. A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.S. had assured its closest ally that the claims would not be repeated.
In a highly unusual public statement, the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency had earlier denied Trump’s allegations that it helped to spy on the then-candidate during the 2016 in cooperation with former President Obama. The statement from the Government Communications Headquarters described the claims, which were reiterated Thursday by Spicer, as “utterly ridiculous” and urged the public to dismiss them: “They… should be ignored.” The British agency rarely if ever comments on specific allegations or cases, and it is especially rare that Friday’s comments came in the form of such blunt language. Spicer said during his daily press briefing: “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.’” Napolitano at the time implied that such a choice would have been to keep “American fingerprints” off the spy operation. Read more at CNN.