Sunday, March 19, 2017
A former CIA officer responsible for previously peddling false allegations played a prime part in the fake claim that Barack Obama secretly asked GCHQ to wiretap Donald Trump, The Independent has learned. Larry C. Johnson, who made bogus charges that Michelle Obama made a racist speech against white people ... has emerged as one of the key figures behind what has become an international diplomatic confrontation between the U.S. and U.K. On March 6, the week after Trump first accused Obama of being responsible for the wiretap, Johnson "revealed" in an interview with Russian state-sponsored network Russia Today that there was a conspiracy between U.S. intelligence and "Britain's own GHCQ [sic]" to derail Donald Trump's election campaign.
Johnson said he had repeated this to Andrew Napolitano, a retired judge, who made it a basis for his own accusation against Obama and GCHQ on Fox News earlier this week. The falsehood was then given further exposure by Sean Spicer, Trump's spokesman, at a White House briefing, on Thursday. Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, meanwhile, was busy distancing itself from the "very talented legal mind" Napolitano. Anchor Shepherd Smith said "Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now President of the United States was surveilled at any time, anyway. Full stop."
Johnson has been accused of mixing fact with fiction before. In 2008 he claimed on his blog that a tape existed of Michelle Obama "railing against whitey" at a church. Although he had not seen the tape himself, he said, "five other sources" had and it was being held by the Republicans "to drop at the appropriate time." No such tape was released and no evidence was ever produced to prove its existence. Meanwhile Rick Ledgett, the deputy director of NSA, the American counterpart of GCHQ, described the claims about Obama and British intelligence as "arrant nonsense." He pointed that the allegation betrayed "a complete lack of understanding in how the relationship works" between Britain and the U.S. on intelligence.
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