A former top American spymaster has denied allegations that there was any kind of wiretapping activities against Donald Trump at the Trump Towers when he was in the run-up to US Presidential elections.
“For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign.
“I can’t speak for other title 3-authorised entities in the government or a state or local entity,” James Clapper, who was Director of National Intelligence during the Obama Administration, told NBC News in an interview.
In this capacity, Clapper oversaw the working of top American intelligence agencies including the CIA.
Trump, in a series of tweets on Saturday, claimed that his predecessor had tapped the telephones at Trump Tower.
Clapper said he would have know had there been any court order on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against Trump.
“I would know this (FISA court order) Not to my knowledge,” he said when asked if he was aware of any such order either against Trump or against the Trump Tower.
Clapper said till the time he was heading DNI there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russian authorities.
“I do think, though, it is in everyone’s interest, in the current president’s interests, in the Democrat’s interests, in the Republican interests ask the country’s interest to get to the bottom of all of this, because it’s such a distraction.
“And certainly the Russians have to be chortling about the success of their efforts to sow dissension in this country,” Clapper said.
Before leaving the administration, Clapper headed a team that released a report on the alleged Russian interference into the general elections.
“It (investigation) got to the bottom of the evidence to the extent of the evidence we had at the time.
Whether there’s more evidence that’s become available since then or there are ongoing investigations will be revelatory, I don’t know,” he said in response to a question.
Terming the reports of wiretapping “very troubling”, the White House yesterday said that Trump has asked Congress to investigate the allegations of him being wiretapped by his predecessor Barack Obama before the 2016 elections.
(With inputs from PTI)