US director of national intelligence at time of presidential campaign denies Trump Tower was wire-tapped

US director of national intelligence at time of presidential campaign denies Trump Tower was wire-tapped

The director of national intelligence at the time of the US election has denied there was any wire-tapping of Donald Trump or his campaign.

James Clapper also told NBC that he knew of no court order to allow monitoring of Trump Tower in New York.

Mr Trump had accused President Barack Obama of ordering the wire-tap, but offered no evidence.

Mr Trump says an inquiry into alleged Russian interference should also probe potential abuse of executive power.

James Clapper, who left his post when Mr Trump took office on 20 January, told NBC’s Meet the Press: “There was no such wire-tap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, as a candidate, or against his campaign.”

He said that as intelligence director he would have known about any “court order on something like this. Absolutely, I can deny it”.

But he added: “I can’t speak for other authorised entities in the government or a state or local entity.”

Some media reports had suggested the FBI had sought a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance court (Fisa) in order to monitor members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.

Mr Clapper’s comments appear to contradict the reports, which said that a warrant was at first turned down, but then approved in October.

Under Fisa, wire-tapping can only be approved if there is probable cause to believe that the target of the surveillance is an agent of a foreign power. Mr Obama could not lawfully have ordered such a warrant.

‘Simply false’

In his interview, Mr Clapper also said that no evidence had been found of collusion between the Trump team and the Russian government.

Mr Trump, who has faced intense scrutiny over alleged Russian interference in support of his presidential bid, made his wire-tapping allegation in tweets written from his weekend home in Florida early on Saturday.

He called the alleged tapping “Nixon/Watergate”, referring to the notorious political scandal of 1972, which led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.

His claims sparked Republican and Democrat politicians alike to demand details to back them up. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio was the latest, saying on Sunday that “the White House will have to answer as to exactly what he was referring to”.

BBC

Nigerian Online Newspaper=


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