Prime Minister Theresa May says she will confront President Donald Trump over the multiple leaks of British law enforcement intelligence related to the Manchester suicide bomb attack, and will reportedly cease sharing information with U.S. government agencies related to the case.
I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure,” she said.
The leaks Prime Minister May is referring to stem primarily from a New York Times piece, published yesterday, which shows close up images of forensic evidence collected at the attack site as part of the ongoing investigation. Since Monday, eight people have been arrested and remain in custody as U.K. law enforcement and intelligence services continue to track the network of support for 22-year old Salman Abedi. The U.K. remains on high alert for an imminent terror attack, deploying thousands of soldiers throughout the country to assist police in maintaining security.
Having a foreign head of state advise the U.S. president that intelligence must stop being leaked will surely be a touchy subject with Trump, who has repeatedly bemoaned the steady leaking supposedly coming from American intelligence and law enforcement agencies to the press.
Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said that the leaks not only jeopardize the outcomes of the continuing investigation, but can cause undue stress for the families of the victims still reeling from the loss of their loved ones earlier this week.
It is absolutely understandable the distress and upset that this caused to these families that are already suffering,” he said.
As part of their “special relationship,” the U.S. and U.K. enjoy exceptionally close ties with regard to intelligence sharing, more so than with any other nation. A senior British counter-terrorism official, speaking to Reuters, said the move is temporary. “This is until such time as we have assurances that no further unauthorized disclosures will occur.”
May will speak with Trump today at a NATO summit in Brussels.
Image courtesy of the BBC