Today the Telegraph and other sources reported that Sean Spicer and H. R. McMaster had apologized to the British government for the insinuation that Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI-6, might have conducted surveillance on Trump at the behest of the Obama administration.
Intelligence sources told The Telegraph that both Mr Spicer and General McMaster, the US National Security Adviser, have apologised over the claims. “The apology came direct from them,” a source said.
In fact, NBC was nearly giddy
BREAKING: The White House has promised allegations that Britain's intelligence agency spied on Trump will "not be repeated," per PM's spox.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) March 17, 2017
Did they? It doesn’t seem so.
Today in the White House press brief Spicer was hit with the question:
White House press secretary Sean Spicer flatly denied Friday that the White House apologized to the British government after citing an uncorroborated Fox News report to allege that a UK intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.
The official said there were “at least two calls” from British officials on Thursday and that the British ambassador to the United States called Spicer to discuss the comment.
“Sean was pointing to the breadth of reporting, not endorsing any specific story,” the official said.
White House officials later told CNN that it was British ambassador to the US Kim Darroch and Sir Mark Lyall Grant, national security adviser to Prime Minister Theresa May, who “expressed their concerns to Sean Spicer and Gen. McMaster” in two separate conversations on Thursday.
“Mr. Spicer and Gen. McMaster explained that Mr. Spicer was simply pointing to public reports, not endorsing any specific story,” one official said.
The fact that Trump alluded to the allegation yet again when he was with Angela Merkel and this defiant response
It looks like the Brits got something they can colorably call an apology. It looks like the White House is saying it was merely citing press reports and doesn’t take any ownership for their veracity. Both sides can claim they have what they want and move on.