The Australian government would not comment on accusations made by former Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos that its former Ambassador to Great Britain may have been spying on him during a May 2016 meeting in London. The meeting–according to the FBI–was the impetus to launch its July 2016 “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the Trump campaign and its alleged ties to Russia.
In a statement to SaraACarter.com and Fox News, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson would not address allegations suggesting former Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer was recording or spying on Papadopolous when the two met a London wine bar in May, 2016.
“The Australian Government does not comment on matters relevant to active investigations,” said the spokesperson.
Papadopoulos told SaraACarter.com and Fox News Tuesday night that the “British government at the highest levels were constantly asking to meet with me, including Tobias Ellwood who was right under Boris Johnson.”
British government at the highest levels were constantly asking to meet with me
He added, “Strangely enough, the conversations were not really about the US-UK relationship, but about my ties to the energy business in Israel and Egypt. Strangely enough, Alexander Downer, Tobias Ellwood, Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Halper all wanted to know about that in their discussions with me. Why is this important? Most, if not all, those people were in one way or another were spying on me and campaign and were foreign nationals.”
In a BBC interview last week, Downer would not address allegations regarding Papadopoulos’ claims that he may have been spying on him.
Downer told the reporter, “The reason I don’t say anything about it…is I don’t want this whole issue of Donald Trump and his team and the Russians and so on to interfere in Australia’s relationship with the United States.”
He described the issue as “toxic,” saying, “In terms of public commentary, I just keep right away from it…Well, you know, it’s the same answer, really, people who know me know very well the truth of what sort of person I am…I’ve worked very passionately for Australia over many years, let’s leave it at that.”
The reporter then asked again, “Can we put to rest the fact that he said you were a spy?”
“I was the Australian high commissioner,” Downer said. “The thing is, I’m just not going to get into these sort of allegations he’s made. I mean, people who have worked with me, and people in Australia who know me, know absolutely my record.”
This wasn’t the only time the question has been posed to senior diplomats or U.S. officials.
In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd in February, former CIA Director John Brennan was asked a similar question about information that may have been obtained from allied nations regarding Trump campaign officials.
Todd asked if “the Papadopoulos thing (came) through the CIA via the Five Eyes thing? That would have been a piece of information that gets to the FBI? Is that how that works?” The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States to share intelligence gathered by each respective nation. As for the United Kingdom and the U.S. a separate and similar agreement exists dubbed “the Special Relationship,” which was established in 1946 and “allows the nation’s to share a lot of collected intelligence, among other things,” the former U.S. official added.