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Ex-UK ambassador to US calls Trump’s wiretap claims ‘damaging’



The former British ambassador to the United States has rejected claims by US President Donald Trump about the UK’s involvement in alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower by the administration of former President Barack Obama in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Sir Peter Westmacott said Sunday that the claims are nonsensical and “gratuitously damaging” to UK-US ties, as cited in a Guardian report.

“This is a dangerous game,” Westmacott wrote for the daily. “The intelligence relationship between Britain and America is unique and precious. It is critical to our shared efforts to counter terrorism.”

“Gratuitously damaging it by peddling falsehoods and then doing nothing to set the record straight would be a gift to our enemies they could only dream of.”

On March 4, the New York billionaire attacked Obama in a tweet, claiming that he had “tapped” his phone while he was busy campaigning for the November 8 vote, further suggesting that the British intelligence was also involved in the move.

US President Donald Trump, wife Melania (R) and son Barron (L) board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on March 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“Anyone with any knowledge of the intelligence world knew the suggestion was absurd,” said the former ambassador. “First, the president of the United States does not have the power to order the tapping of anyone’s phone. Second, the idea of the British foreign secretary signing a warrant authorizing such an intrusion into domestic US politics was unthinkable.”

The former envoy further censured the New York billionaire for his “famous reluctance to admit mistakes.”

Earlier on Sunday, California Republican Representative Devin Nunes , the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also pushed  back against the claims, asserting that “there was no FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant” for wiretapping.

Other Republicans also joined Nunes in rejecting their president’s allegations.

Texas Republican House Representative Will Hurd was one, arguing that the White House should apologize to the UK “for the intimation that the UK was involved in this as well.”

“We need to make sure we are all working together,” he said. “We live in a very dangerous world and we can’t do this alone.”

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