President Donald Trump has accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his phone a month before he was elected.
The president tweeted 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 Trump went on to say that a court had earlier denied a wiretap request.
He has given no details to back up the claim – or suggested which court order he was referring to.
Media reports in the past few weeks have suggested the FBI had sought a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance court (FISA) last summer in order to monitor members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.
The warrant was first turned down but then approved in October, according to the media reports.
There has been no official confirmation and it is also not clear if this evolved into a full investigation.
There has been no comment yet from former President Barack Obama.
Donald Trump tweeted: “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to the Election.”
The president called the alleged tapping “a new low” and said “This is Nixon/Watergate” – referring to the most notorious political scandal of 1972, which led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon after a web of political spying, sabotage and bribery was exposed by the media.
Donald Trump also called it McCarthyism – the persecution for US Communists and their allies led by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s.
His tweets followed allegations made by conservative radio host Mark Levin, which were later picked up by Breitbart News, the website founded by Steve Bannon, now Donald Trump’s chief strategist.
Mark Levin said there should be a congressional investigation into what he called Barack Obama’s “police state” tactics in his last months in office to undermine Donald Trump’s campaign.
Breitbart summarizes Mark Levin’s accusations, which say that “the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA (National Security Agency) rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government”.
At least 67 police officers have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of spying and illegal wire-tapping.
The allegations involve police who were part of a corruption investigation that targeted PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle.
Among those arrested in raids that took place across Turkey are two former heads of Istanbul’s anti-terror police.
One of the two men, Yurt Atayun, told reporters: “They handcuffed me from behind. It’s all political.”
At least 67 Turkish senior police officers have been arrested over Recep Tayyip Erdogan spying allegations
The Istanbul prosecutor said that thousands of people had had their phones tapped, including PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, senior ministers and the head of Turkish intelligence. Arrest warrants had been issued for more than 100 suspects, he said.
Two police commissioners and one department chief were detained in the capital, Ankara, Anatolia news agency reported.
The corruption inquiry emerged last December and led to the sons of three ministers being detained and, ultimately, four ministers leaving their jobs.
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleges the investigation was orchestrated by supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, once his rival in Turkey.
The prime minister and his son, Bilal, were then caught up in February in a subsequent wire-tap which appeared to show them talking about hiding a large sum of money.
One of those arrested on Tuesday was the former deputy head of Istanbul’s financial crimes unit who was on duty at the time of the February operation, reports say.
The New York Times has recently reported that Bo Xilai ran a wire-tapping system that extended as far as China’s president Hu Jintao.
Citing “nearly a dozen people with party ties”, the New York Times said the disgraced Bo Xilai ran a wire-tapping network across Chongqing, where he was party chief.
His officials even listened to a phone call involving Hu Jintao, the paper said.
Chinese authorities have not mentioned wire-tapping in reports about Bo Xilai, whose wife, Gu kailai, is being investigated over the death of British businessman, Neil Heywood.
They are investigating Bo Xilai over “serious discipline violations”, while Gu Kailai has been detained as a suspect in the death of Neil Heywood, found dead in Chongqing in November 2011.
Chinese authorities say they believe Neil Heywood was murdered.
The New York Times has recently reported that Bo Xilai ran a wire-tapping system that extended as far as China's president Hu Jintao
Bo Xilai – a high flier once expected to reach the top echelons of office – has not been seen in public since he was removed from his political posts, in the biggest political shake-up in China in years.
Bo Xilai’s wire-tapping operation began several years ago as part of an anti-crime campaign in Chongqing, the New York Times said.
It was handled by Wang Lijun, the police chief whose flight to the US consulate in February signaled the start of Bo Xilai’s downfall, and expanded into targeting political figures.
Last year, the paper reported, operatives were caught intercepting a conversation between the office of President Hu Jintao and Liu Guanglei, a top party law-and-order official whom Wang Lijun had replaced as police chief.
A conversation between Minister of Supervision Ma Wen, who was visiting Chongqing, and President Hu Jintao himself was also monitored, the paper said.
Authorities in Beijing found out and began investigating, straining the relationship between Wang Lijun and Bo Xilai.
The wire-tapping “was seen as a direct challenge to central authorities”, the newspaper reported, citing party insiders.
These new claims will add to the sense that this scandal has exposed deep rifts and mistrust at the very highest level of China’s Communist Party.
Also important were fears that Bo Xilai, seen as a divisive populist, could not be trusted if elevated to the highest levels in the party.
Bo Xilai’s fall from grace comes with China due to begin its once-in-a-decade leadership change in October.
Since the scandal erupted, the lifestyle and political and business dealings of he and his family have come under intense media scrutiny.
Bo Xilai’s brother has resigned as director of a Hong Kong-based company, a day after his son issued a statement defending his lifestyle.