Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

British spies first spotted Trump-Russia links in 2015

British spies first spotted Trump-Russia links in 2015

British government spies were reportedly the first to inform USA intelligence officers of the alleged connections between the Russian government and President Donald Trump's campaign.

The ongoing probe into ties between Russian Federation and affiliates of President Donald Trump was reportedly first spurred by worldwide spy agencies that picked up "suspicious interactions", which they began sharing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

The story added that other USA allies, including Germany, Estonia, Poland and Australia, passed along similar information to US intelligence agencies.

Agencies from other countries, including Germany, reportedly shared additional intelligence with the United States through the first half of 2016, the Guardian said, citing "sources". Australia, a member of the "Five Eyes" spying alliance, which also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said. That was more than six months after British intelligence officials were first alerted to the interactions between Trump's associates and known or suspected Russian operatives, according to The Guardian.

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"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".

The communications are likely to be scrutinized as part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. "You should be wary of this, '" an unnamed source told the Guardian. "Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, "Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command (to spy on Trump)".

Exactly 90 days ago - on Friday, January 13 - Donald Trump, then president-elect, issued a series of tweets attacking the claims in former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele's "dossier" that the Russian government had always been "cultivating, supporting and assisting" Trump.

The Guardian said on Thursday that the U.K.'s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been watching the Trump camp since late 2015, having noticed suspicious "interactions" between Trump associates and well-known Russian agents. "They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored".

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