08:16 GMT21 October 2020
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    A former chief in Britain's intelligence agency GCHQ has said the allegations that it installed hacking equipment on behalf of Barack Obama in the offices of Donald Trump ahead of the US presidential election are part of a "fake news campaign."

    GCHQ took the unusual step of issuing a statement after Fox News analyst and former judge Andrew P. Napolitano backed up claims by Trump that the Obama administration had bugged his office with the aid of Britain's GCHQ.

    Napolitano said that GCHQ had assisted the US National Security Agency (NSA) is the wiretap and that it had been done on the orders of the Obama administration.

    ​However, GCHQ responded saying the allegation was nonsense and that the UK would never have agreed to such a request.

    "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," GCHQ said in a statement.

    A representative of GCHQ, the British Government's electronic intelligence service
    © AP Photo / Alastair Grant
    A representative of GCHQ, the British Government's electronic intelligence service

    The former Deputy Director for Intelligence and Cyber Operations at GCHQ, Brian Lords, dismissed the claims as another example of "fake news."

    "The activity of which Fox News has reported does not fall anywhere near the constitutional remit of GCHQ. I think the key thing here is: what is the story? Is the story: GCHQ spied on President Trump? O is the story about the use of fake news as a political and geopolitical tool? What we are seeing i a trend towards using false news, manipulated news as a political and geopolitical tool. Part of the cut and thrust of political activity," he told the BBC Today program.

    Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee said, March 16, there was no evidence to support Trump's claim.

    "Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016," read a statement by Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Senator Mark Warner, the committee's Democratic vice chairman.

    Despite this, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer said — of the original allegation of spying — that Trump "stands by it."

    "There's widespread reporting that throughout the 2016 election, there was surveillance that was done on a variety of people," Mr. Spicer said.


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    fake news, spy gadgets, snooping, surveillance, wiretapping, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), National Security Agency (NSA), Fox News, Sean Spicer, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Britain, United States, United Kingdom
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