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British Intelligence Was on Trump’s Case Since 2015

April 13, 2017 (EIRNS) — British Intelligence was spying on the Trump presidential campaign since at least 2015. In what it claims is an "exclusive" story, The Guardian, citing unnamed "senior" sources, writes today that the GCHQ alerted U.S. agencies of contacts between Trump people and alleged Russian agents already in 2015. Of course, The Guardian asserts,

"It is understood that GCHQ was not carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team, but picked up the alleged conversations by chance."

These same sources told The Guardian that "Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives.

"GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious ’interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to U.K. intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the U.S. as part of a routine exchange of information, they added."

The British were in fact leading the pack of European-wide intelligence agencies which over the next six months, until summer of 2016, were funneling information to the U.S. agencies. The countries included

"Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance, which includes the U.S., U.K., Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said."

Also the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for Foreign Security (DGSE) played their role as well. One source told the Guardian, the "the British eavesdropping agency was the ‘principal whistle blower’... GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kick-starting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016."

The sources lamented that while all this information was "flagged to intelligence officials in the U.S." the latter were "slow to appreciate" this information complaining that

"U.S. law that prohibits U.S. agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. ‘They are trained not to do this,’ the source stressed."

(Unlike the British.)

Ridiculing their U.S. colleagues, the source told the Guardian,

"It looks like the [U.S.] agencies were asleep. They [the European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr. Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this.’ The message was: ‘Watch out. There’s something not right here.’"

The Guardian writes that

"According to one account, GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief John Brennan. The matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at ‘director level.’ After an initially slow start Brennan used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation."

Despite the fact that Brennan tried to mask the British sources, the Guardian said one source told them that Trump subsequently learned of GCHQ’s role.

The is the first mention of Hannigan having been directly involved. On Jan. 23, three days after Trump’s inauguration and shortly after the first allegations that the British were involved in the anti-Trump activity through former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, Hannigan resigned as head of GCHQ, citing "personal reasons."