GCHQ says it came across the information during routine of Russian intelligence operatives.
While the British intelligence agency GCHQ never wiretapped Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign — despite what press secretary Sean Spicer claimed last month — it appears that British intelligence had known for a while that members of Trump’s campaign team were interacting with Russian intelligence operatives.They learned this because they were spying on those Russian agents anyway.
In late 2015 GCHQ learned about ‘interactions’ between individuals connected to the Trump campaign and individuals who are known or suspected Russian agents – according to a report by The Guardian.
The information was shared with the United States and GCHQ’s reporting was corroborated by information shared by other Western intelligence agencies through the summer of 2016.
Australia – Estonia – Germany and Poland were among the countries that passed on electronic intelligence or sigint to the United States on the Trump camp’s connections to Russia.