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Claims made by the White House that Britain had been used by President Obama to wiretap Mr Trump during his election campaign are nonsense, according to the head of the US National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers.

Speaking to the US House intelligence committee, Admiral Rogers said he agreed with the angry statement issued last Thursday by GCHQ, Britain’s electronic surveillance agency, in which it slammed the notion of its spying on its closest ally as “utterly ridiculous”.

“It would be expressly against the construction of the five eyes agreement that has been in place for decades,” Admiral Rogers said on Monday.

The administration has so far refused to distance itself from the accusations – which were aired by press secretary Sean Spicer, when he cited a Fox News media report on the matter as an authoritative account. Mr Trump later went on to defend the Fox claims as having been made by a “talented legal mind.”

The claim has been met with anger and bemusement in Britain, the US’s closest ally on intelligence matters. Asked whether the allegation was damaging to the relationship, Admiral Rogers said he agreed that it “clearly frustrates a key ally of ours.”

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