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LONDON, March 17 Britain's GCHQ intelligence
agency dismissed claims made on a U.S. television station that
it helped former President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald
Trump after last year's U.S. presidential election.
In a rare public statement, Britain's eavesdropping agency
said the charge - made on Tuesday by Fox News analyst Andrew
Napolitano - was "utterly ridiculous".
"Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew
Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wire tapping'
against the then President Elect are nonsense," a spokesman for
"They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored," the
GCHQ never usually comments on criticism of its work beyond
saying it always operates under a strict legal framework.
Reuters reported earlier this week that an unidentified
British security official had denied the allegation that GCHQ
had eavesdropped on Trump.
Trump, who became president in January, tweeted earlier this
month that his Democratic predecessor had wiretapped him during
the late stages of the 2016 campaign. The Republican president
offered no evidence for the allegation, which an Obama spokesman
said was "simply false".
On the "Fox & Friends" program, Napolitano, a political
commentator and former New Jersey judge, said that rather than
ordering U.S. agencies to spy on Trump, Obama obtained
transcripts of Trump's conversations from Britain's Government
Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, the equivalent of the U.S.
National Security Agency, which monitors overseas electronic
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Thursday quoted
Napolitano's comment on GCHQ.
GCHQ, based in a futuristic building named the doughnut
because of its shape located in Cheltenham in western England,
is one of three main British spy agencies alongside the MI6
Secret Intelligence Service and the MI5 Security Service.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)