Top NSA official: British spying claims are ‘nonsense’

Top NSA official: British spying claims are ‘nonsense’

The deputy director of the National Security Agency (NSA) is calling claims that British intelligence agency GCHQ surveilled Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE during the presidential campaign “arrant nonsense.”

Rick Ledgett in a BBC interview dismissed Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano’s comments last week that sources told him former President Obama used Britain’s GCHQ to spy on Trump.

"Of course they wouldn't do it,” Ledgett said from his office at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. “It would be epically stupid."

Ledgett also said Napolitano’s comments, made on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” show "a complete lack of understanding in how the relationship works." 

White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeated Napolitano’s claim last Thursday. According to reports, the White House said it explained to Britain’s ambassador that Spicer was merely referencing the existence of the Fox News report, not endorsing it.

Trump also stressed during a press conference on Friday that the report was Fox’s. He did call Napolitano “a very talented legal mind."

“I didn’t make an opinion on it,” Trump said. “You shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”

“Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said on the air on Friday. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way.”

GCHQ has also dismissed Napolitano’s claim as “utterly ridiculous.”

Trump earlier this month claimed without providing evidence that Obama had wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower in New York to monitor his campaign’s communications.

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” Trump tweeted.