White House Tries to Soothe UK Over Spy Comments

Spicer's comments set off a diplomatic furor
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2017 11:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – The White House has reportedly apologized to the British government for its allegations that a UK intelligence agency helped then-President Obama to wiretap Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. An anonymous White House official tells CNN that national security adviser HR McMaster talked to his British counterpart Thursday, telling him that Sean Spicer's comment was "unintentional" and that the UK concerns "were understood and heard and ... would be relayed to the White House." The official also says the British ambassador to the US called Spicer Thursday to discuss the matter. CNN describes the conversations Spicer and McMaster had with British officials as "what amounted to an apology," while the Telegraph refers to them as formal apologies.

But both CNN and the Telegraph are citing anonymous sources, and the White House has not confirmed. A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May says, per the BBC, that the British government made it clear to the US that the allegations are "ridiculous and should have been ignored." The spokesperson says May has "received assurances that these allegations won't be repeated," but a former UK foreign secretary tells the BBC that's not enough: "That's not the same as saying it was rubbish in the first place." UK intelligence agency GCHQ had earlier slammed Spicer's allegations as "nonsense." (Read more President Trump stories.)

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