White House tries to soothe British leaders angry over Trump wiretap claims

"I don't think we regret anything", Spicer told reporters at a gaggle Friday afternoon.

Such an attack on the White House by a British intelligence agency is nearly unheard of.

The official described the conversation as "cordial" where McMaster described Spicer's comment as "unintentional". The White House has publicly offered no proof of the allegation. But the official wouldn't characterize the call.

According to a Western diplomat, Spicer and Darroch had spoken by telephone on Tuesday, at which time Darroch asserted that there was no basis to the report.

Britain's ambassador to Washington Kim Darroch spoke directly to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, although May's spokesman refused to say whether the USA administration had apologised. "We've received assurances these allegations won't be repeated".

Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct "wiretapping" against the then president-elect are nonsense. Spicer was attempting to bolster Trump's unsubstantiated Twitter claims that he had been wiretapped by the previous administration.

To make matters more serious, the statement would have nearly certainly been signed off by Downing Street.

There is no evidence such spying took place and GCHQ, the British electronic intelligence agency, has called the allegation "utterly ridiculous".

"We have a close, special relationship with the White House and that allows us to raise concerns as and when they arise as was true in this case", he added.

Under the Five Eyes agreement between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the USA, allies can not use each others' intelligence capabilities to circumvent their own laws, Slack said.

The prime minister's spokesman said: "I would add, just as a matter of fact, with the Five Eyes pact, we can not use each other's capabilities to circumvent laws".

"It's a situation that simply wouldn't arise". Snowden also revealed that the NSA paid £100m to GCHQ in secret, reports the Guardian.

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats Party, said Trump was "compromising the vital UK-US security relationship to try to cover his own embarrassment".

Donald Trump's claim that the Obama administration had ordered surveillance on him has generated enormous attention but with so far little evidence to back it up.

The White House didn't immediately respond to request for comment on whether Spicer had apologized, if the administration would no longer highlight the Napolitano remarks, or if the British government had requested an apology.

Mr Trump had accused his predecessor Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the presidential race.

"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory". Spicer highlighted the report in a list of media accounts he read to reporters during his briefing on Thursday, arguing that the stories helped validate Trump's allegation.

"I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks", Trump said in the interview.

CNN's Jim Sciutto reported from Washington, while Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London and Ben Westcott from Hong Kong.

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