UK government's spy agency condemns Trump statement as 'utterly ridiculous' and says president 'should be ignored'

US president promotes conspiracy theory that GCHQ helped spy on his presidential campaign

Tom Embury-Dennis
Wednesday 24 April 2019 15:20 BST
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GCHQ has accused Donald Trump of making an “utterly ridiculous” statement after the president suggested UK intelligence services helped spy on his presidential campaign.

Mr Trump promoted the conspiracy theory on Twitter when he quoted right-wing news organisation One America News headline, which according to the president read: “Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom intelligence of helping Obama administration spy on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.”

“WOW! It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!” Mr Trump added.

The allegation appears to stem from Mr Johnson, a former CIA analyst and defender of Russia who is a longtime critic of US intelligence.

The claim, which comes just a month after the president suggested Britain had made up Russia’s US election interference, was met with a withering response by the UK spy agency.

“As we have previously stated, the allegations that GCHQ was asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then president elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored,” the agency told Reuters.

It comes two years after GCHQ was forced to deny it “wire tapped” Trump Tower in 2016, after the White House promoted a Fox News pundit’s allegation Barack Obama bypassed US intelligence by using the UK’s spy centre to obtain details of Mr Trump’s conversations.

GCHQ also said at the time the comments were “utterly ridiculous and should be ignored”.

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Mr Trump’s latest peddling of a conspiracy theory involving Britain comes just six weeks before he is due to be honoured in the country with a state visit.

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