Trump’s Bri­tish spy claim ‘un­true’

Diplo­macy: US se­cu­rity agency de­nies al­le­ga­tions

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY SHAUN CON­NOLLY

Amer­ica’s Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency (NSA) did not ask Bri­tain’s GCHQ to spy on Don­ald Trump when he was run­ning for pres­i­dent, the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s di­rec­tor Ad­mi­ral Mike Rogers has in­sisted.

Probed on the al­le­ga­tions dur­ing ques­tion­ing at US Con­gres­sional hear­ings, Ad­mi­ral Rogers said such a move would “vi­o­late” US law and go against the “Five Eyes” in­tel­li­gence shar­ing ar­range­ments be­tween Amer­ica, Bri­tain, Canada, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

Asked if the NSA had re­quested GCHQ to mon­i­tor Mr Trump, Ad­mi­ral Rogers said: “No sir, nor would I. That would be ex­pressly against the con­struct of the Five Eyes agree­ment.”

A diplo­matic in­ci­dent was sparked last week when the White House ref­er­enced a claim on Fox News that then pres­i­dent Barack Obama could have used GCHQ for an op­er­a­tion against Mr Trump.

Ad­mi­ral Rogers said he agreed with com­ments from the UK Gov­ern­ment that claims GCHQ was in­volved in sur­veil­lance on Mr Trump were “non­sense” and “ut­terly ridicu­lous”.

Asked if Pres­i­dent Trump mak­ing “base­less” claims against UK se­cu­rity ser­vices dam­aged the close re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two na­tions, the NSA di­rec­tor said: “I think it clearly frus­trates a key ally of ours.”

When pressed whether the in­ci­dent would have a bad im­pact on se­cu­rity ties be­tween the US and Bri­tain, Ad­mi­ral Rogers said: “I be­lieve that the re­la­tion­ship is strong enough . . . this is some­thing we will be able to deal with.”

Ad­mi­ral Rogers moved to play down the im­pact of re­cent con­tro­ver­sies on US re­la­tion­ships with the UK and Ger­many.

The NSA di­rec­tor said that close con­tacts be­tween Amer­ica and the two coun­tries would not be set back, adding: “We have fun­da­men­tal, foun­da­tional in­ter­ests with each other, and we need to keep work­ing to­gether.”

HEAD­QUAR­TERS: The 24-hour op­er­a­tions room in­side GCHQ – which was linked

NSA di­rec­tor Ad­mi­ral Mike Rogers

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