Media figurehead silenced after wiretap remarks
NEW YORK (INTELLIHUB) — Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has been pulled off the air indefinitely after revealing that multiple intelligence sources informed him that former President Obama veered ‘outside the chain of command’ and employed British surveillance agents to conduct surveillance on Donald Trump’s team prior to the election.
Napolitano has not been on the air since Thursday and is not expected to be on the news network anytime in the near future, sources told the LA Times.
President Trump accused Obama of ordering his “‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” in a tweet on March 4.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
“Nothing found,” Trump tweeted. “This is McCarthyism!”
The tweet sparked both a media and political firestorm which Judge Andrew Napolitano poured gasoline on when he told Fox & Friends that three intelligence sources revealed to Fox News that Obama used GCHQ to surveil Trump.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 14, 2017
“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,” Napolitano said. “He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use the Department of Justice.”
“He used GCHQ.” Napolitano explained.
“What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database,” the Judge went on.
Napolitano would also note that going to GCHQ was done to secure plausible deniability. In other words, it was done to prevent any American fingerprints being left behind to trace.
“So by simply having two people go to them saying, ‘President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump, conversations involving president-elect Trump,’ he’s able to get it, and there’s no American fingerprints on this,” Napolitano said.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited Napolitano’s charge last week when asked why President Trump continues to stand by his initial claim. GCHQ denounced Napolitano’s allegations, saying they are “utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
Fox News backed away from the allegation on Friday when anchor Shepard Smith said in a statement:
“Judge Andrew Napolitano commented on the morning show Fox and Friends that he has sources who say British intelligence … was involved in surveillance at Trump Tower. Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way, full stop.”
Trump continues to stand firm on the idea that he was indeed surveilled despite most mainstream media outlets and some in the intelligence community declaring that the wiretap claim is false. During a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, the President was asked about his wiretap claim and responded by cracked a subtle joke over the issue.
“As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump said, gesturing toward Merkel who had her cellphone monitored by the NSA in 2010. The response triggered a laugh from the press.
“You shouldn’t be talking to me; you should be talking to Fox News,” said Trump, citing Napolitano.
In a statement read on the Fox News program MediaBuzz on Sunday, Napolitano defended his comments on GCHQ spying by saying he “reported what the sources told me, reported it accurately and I do believe the substance of what they told me.”
Napolitano joined Fox News Channel in January 1998 where he provided legal analysis on both FNC and Fox Business Network.