British-American intelligence sharing over #ManchesterAttack halted after 'irritating' leaks

British-American intelligence sharing over #ManchesterAttack halted after 'irritating' leaks
2 min read
British police have halted intelligence sharing with United States law enforcement after a series of leaks in the Manchester terror attack investigation traced back to US officials.
British police have halted intelligence sharing with United States law enforcement after a series of leaks in the Manchester terror attack investigation.

The BBC on Thursday reported that the decision was taken "because of a series of leaks thought to have come from the American intelligence community".

A day earlier, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd berated the US Department of Homeland Security and other intelligence branches after US media leaked the bomber's identity and details about the ongoing investigation before UK officials had publicly released any information.

"The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity... the element of surprise,"  Rudd told BBC radio.

"So it is irritating if it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again." 

Shortly after her comments, the New York Times again published photographs of the remnants of the bomb, which were apparently taken by police investigators and leaked by US counterparts they had been shared with.

"We are furious. This is completely unacceptable," a government ministry source said.

"The issue is being raised at every relevant level by the British authorities with their US counterparts."

Britain's anti-terror police said in a statement that British investigators depend on trust to share privileged and sensitive information.

"When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families," he said.

"This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorised disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter terrorism investigation".

The US Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan confirmed that the British home secretary had raised the issue and asked for better protection of shared intelligence.

"We'll do whatever we can to honour that," he said. 

The row provides an awkward backdrop to British Prime Minister Theresa May's meeting with US President Donald Trump on Thursday at the NATO summit on Thursday.

The US president arrived in Brussels on Wednesday night, and will meet with NATO and EU leaders for the first time to press for action on international terrorism.

At least 9,000 people marched through Brussels, a city Trump once said had been turned into a "hellhole" by Muslim immigration, to protest his visit.

The NATO summit will however be full of pomp, with the keen-to-impress alliance showing off its new $1.2-billion headquarters and staging a flypast.