Donald Trump's claim that the Obama administration had "wire-tapped" his Trump Tower
headquarters has been thoroughly and publicly debunked by FBI director James Comey, who also publicly confirmed the bureau was investigating possible links between Russia and Mr Trump's associates.
In his much-anticipated appearance before a Congressional committee hearing, Mr Comey demolished the President's assertion, made in a tweet on Saturday March 4.
Although members of Congress who have been privy to classified briefings have made similar declarations, the director's comment was the first public admission from anyone in a privileged position of knowledge within the US intelligence community that the President's claim had no basis in fact.
Mr Comey had clearly anticipated the line of questioning from the most senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, and volunteered to the Congressman that the over-arching Department of Justice did not have any evidence to support Mr Trump's allegations either.
Sitting alongside the FBI director was the other significant figure in the US electronic intelligence gathering community, Mike Rogers of the National Security Agency. Admiral Rogers also spoke frankly of the NSA's frustration with the President's commentary on intelligence matters since his initial tweets in March.
Asked if the NSA had requested the British agency GCHQ to "wire-tap" Trump Towers on its behalf
, Admiral Rogers replied: "No sir. Nor would I — that would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement that has been in place for decades."
The Intelligence Committee hearing has also delivered an official, if guarded, acknowledgement by the FBI that it is in the midst of a thorough investigation into Russian involvement in last year's US election, including any coordination by members of the Trump campaign team.
"I have been authorised by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian Government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election," Mr Comey said. "And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian Government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.
While noting that the investigation was "open, ongoing and is classified" the FBI director refused to say whose conduct was under investigation.
More here about leaks: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-2...-links/8371516