Tony Blair Told Trump British Spies Were Monitoring Him, New Book Claims

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned President Donald Trump's team that the U.K.'s security services may have been monitoring them during the presidential election, according to a new book.

Journalist Michael Wolff's explosive new release, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, alleges that Blair met Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner at the White House in February.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Thursday, Blair categorically denied the claims that he had tipped off Trump about monitoring by the British security services. He admitted that he had met Kushner and discussed the Middle East peace process.

"On this trip the now freelance diplomat, perhaps seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House, mentioned a juicy rumour: the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself," Wolff writes.

A month after that visit, the Trump administration—via the then Press Secretary Sean Spicer— angered British spooks when it claimed that GCHQ, the British government communications headquarters, had spied on the president when he was a candidate on behalf of Obama. GCHQ called the claim "utterly ridiculous," forcing an apology from White House officials.

It remains unknown if this claim was based on a hint that Blair was alleged to have dropped in a meeting with Trump officials, but American security services subsequently found the accusation to be unfounded, the book says.

"It was unclear whether the information was rumour, informed conjecture, speculation or solid stuff," the account continues.

"But, as it festered in the president's mind, Kushner and Steve Bannon went out to CIA headquarters in Langley to meet Mike Pompeo and his deputy director, Gina Haspel, to check it out. A few days later, the CIA opaquely reported back that the information was not correct; it was a 'miscommunication.'"

The book alleges that Blair was seeking to become an adviser on Middle Eastern matters to Trump after previously serving as the special envoy to the Quartet on the Middle East. He and Kushner, who Trump tasked with securing the "impossible" Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, had come to know one another after meeting at the 2010 baptism of two of Rupert Murdoch's daughters on the River Jordan.

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses the media after attending the European People's Party (EPP) Group Bureau meeting at Druids Glen on May 12, 2017 in Wicklow, Ireland. Charles McQuillan/Getty

Blair and his team moved to deny the story on Thursday. His spokesman said "it is all a complete a total fabrication."

On Thursday morning he told BBC radio programme Today: "I've never had such a conversation in the White House, outside the White House, with Jared Kushner, with anybody else. We discussed the Middle East peace process."

He said that he was "not angling for a job" and had "absolutely no desire for an official position" in the Trump team.

"The story, it's a sort of a reflection to me on the crazy state of modern politics. Here's a story that is literally an invention that is halfway around the world with conspiracy theories attached to it," he concluded.

Britain's security services have conceded that they did have concerns about the president during the presidential campaign that saw him defeat Hillary Clinton last November.

A document published by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC), the body that oversees Britain's intelligence agencies—MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, last month revealed the fears inside the world's top security service about the future president's policy positions, such as the promise to return the use of torture for the purposes of national security while on the presidential campaign trail in 2017.

"Certain views that the president has expressed—particularly prior to his election—have the potential, if they were to become official policy, to pose difficulties for the U.K.-U.S.A. intelligence relationship," the document reads.

"These include, inter alia, the potential for a change in the U.S. relationship with Russia and Iran, and a change in policy on the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," it continued.

Tony Blair Told Trump British Spies Were Monitoring Him, New Book Claims | World