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British Prime Minister Theresa May will raise UK concerns over leaks of Manchester attack probe intelligence with Donald Trump. Photo: AFP
British Prime Minister Theresa May will raise UK concerns over leaks of Manchester attack probe intelligence with Donald Trump. Photo: AFP

Manchester attack: May to raise probe info leaks with Trump as UK police cut ties

British police said the leaks to US media amounted a breach of trust and undermined their probe into the Manchester attack that killed 22 people at a pop concert

London: Prime Minister Theresa May will raise British concerns over leaks of intelligence related to the Manchester terror attack with President Donald Trump as the BBC reported that police investigating the bombing have stopped sharing information with the US.

Police said late Wednesday that leaks to American media amounted a breach of trust and undermined their investigation into the attack that killed 22 people at a pop concert, stepping up earlier criticism from home secretary Amber Rudd. Manchester police hope to resume intelligence sharing soon, but are furious with a story in the New York Times that included photos of the crime scene, the BBC reported, without saying where it got the information. The NYT didn’t say where it got its information.

May, a former home secretary, will use a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday to speak with Trump about her concerns, according to a UK government official with knowledge of her plans. The government and police had no comment on the BBC report.

“We greatly value the important relationships we have with our trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world," the National Counter Terrorism Policing office said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships and undermines our investigations."

The dispute — which has featured unusually frank language from UK politicians — could have wider implications for intelligence sharing between the close allies. It comes after the Washington Post reported last week that Trump had shared with Russia sensitive information that the president hinted on Monday could have come from Israel.

‘Very troubled’

Politicians across the spectrum in the UK condemned the leaks. Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, told the BBC he had raised concerns about the leaks with the US ambassador, while senior Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper said she was “very troubled" by those occurring in the middle of an investigation where public safety may be at risk. Before further details were published by the NYT, Rudd had said she had been “very clear with our friends that that should not happen again."

With the UK investigation into the bombing continuing, May will cut short her trip to a Group of Seven meeting in Sicily, returning Friday night after the first day of the two-day summit to deal with the terror threat.

Manchester police are hunting down a network they think orchestrated the bombing, and the suspected perpetrator’s father and brother were arrested in Tripoli. Eight people are being held in the UK in connection with the attack. As the investigation continues, British troops have been deployed in the central government district in Westminster, armed with assault rifles. The deployment, designed to free up police officers to pursue the terrorists behind the attack, is the largest on the British mainland in decades. Bloomberg

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