Friday, March 17, 2017

Still Spicey

The claim that GCHQ helped former president Barack Obama wiretap Trump during the 2016 election drew a rare denial by British intelligence officials after the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, repeated it on Thursday.

Spicer quoted a claim by the Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano that three intelligence sources confirmed to him that the Obama administration used GCHQ to spy on Trump so there would be “no American fingerprints on this”.


[O]n Friday, the prime minister’s spokesman said the White House had told the British ambassador and the UK’s national security adviser that Spicer had been instructed not to repeat them.

The White House cannot speak. Who in the White House said that?
“We’ve received assurances these allegations won’t be repeated.

“We have a close relationship which allows us to raise concerns when they arise, as was true in this case. This shows the administration doesn’t give the allegations any credence.”
Except for the small detail that the White House Press Secretary quoted them at a press conference.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former chair of parliament’s intelligence and security committee, demanded the White House withdraw the allegations and not merely say they would not be repeated. He said Spicer never had evidence for the allegations and made them only because he was desperate to justify Trump’s claim.

He told BBC radio: “That’s just foolish and very dangerous stuff and President Trump better get a grip not only on his own press officer but on the kind of encouragement being given in the White House that makes a press officer make these stupid allegations in the first place.

“You don’t just quote from a Fox News report if you are the president’s official spokesman unless you have taken the trouble to find out if that report is justified.”
If the President himself can tweet Fox News reports, then surely his official spokesman can repeat them.

Now we're pissing off Britain. Anybody left?
The prime minister’s spokesman said: “I would add, just as a matter of fact, with the Five Eyes pact, we cannot use each other’s capabilities to circumvent laws. It’s a situation that simply wouldn’t arise.”
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. That's a good one, dude.

UPDATE 3/18:  Apparently an apology was made.
The subsequent apology reportedly came from both Spicer and the U.S. government. This is obviously embarrassing not just for Spicer but the country as a whole. It reveals a continued free-lancing and improvisational character of Administration officials in their public comments. That is particularly serious when it involves the White House spokesman who is supposed to maintain a coherent and well-supported position for the Administration.

The Administration cannot simply careen in this fashion from controversy to controversy.

  Jonathan Turley
Wanna bet?

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