Britain condemns US officials for leaking intelligence on Manchester terror attack

  • Several key details about the investigation into the Manchester terror attack were leaked to the media by US officials.
  • The Home Secretary suggests the “operational integrity” of the investigation was at risk.
  • British officials have expressed their “irritation” to the US.
  • Trump administration has come under scrutiny for leaks of confidential intelligence.

LONDON — Home Secretary Amber Rudd condemned US officials for risking the “operational integrity” of the ongoing investigation into the Manchester terror attack, after they leaked confidential details to the US media before they had been confirmed by British police.

Business Insider reported on Tuesday how several key details on the attacker’s identity had made their way onto US news channels — potentially compromising the ongoing investigation.

American news outlets confirmed that the information on Salman Abedi had been passed to them by US officials.

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Today programme that she was irritated by the leaks.

“The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect the operational integrity, the element of surprise, 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,” she said.

When asked whether the leaks had “compromised” the investigation, she replied: “I wouldn’t go that far,” but added: “I can say that they are perfectly clear about the situation and that it shouldn’t happen again.”

It is not clear which branch of government the leaks emerged from. However, the US administration has come under fire in recent weeks over alleged leaks of intelligence.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that US President Donald Trump shared details about an ISIS terror threat to the Russian ambassador during a visit to the Oval office insider White House.

Anonymous officials told the Washington Post the information had been provided by a US ally through an intelligence-sharing arrangement. 

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson was asked during a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon whether Downing Street was concerned that information passed to the US was apparently being leaked without their consent.

Reporters asked whether the prime minister was confident that she could trust that such sensitive information could be passed to the White House in future.

The spokesperson replied simply that they “would not comment on leaks.”

The Prime Minister spoke to Trump on the phone in the aftermath of the attacks. “She took a call from Trump shortly after Cobra meetings,” the spokesperson confirmed.

Listen: Amber Rudd “irritated” by leaks.

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