UK condemns US for leak of Manchester attacker's name

UK condemns US for leak of Manchester attacker's name
Wed May 24, 2017 15:00:50

The UK's Home Secretary has criticised the United States after confidential details about the Manchester Arena attack appeared in the media after having apparently been leaked by American spooks.

(Independent) -- Amber Rudd said US conduct had been "irritating" and said she had made clear to her American counterparts that such leaks "shouldn't happen again".

The episode comes just a week after US president Donald Trump defended his right to leak classified intelligence to other countries' leaders. Mr Trump has also criticised leaking from the US intelligence establishment.

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the US leaks, Ms Rudd said: "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.

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

Asked whether US conduct had compromised the investigation into the Manchester Arena attack, she said: "I wouldn’t go that far but I can say they are perfectly clear about the situation and that it shouldn’t happen again."

A number of details about the Manchester Arena attack appeared in the US media – most notably on networks NBC and CBS – before British police had publicly released them to the UK media.

The initial death tolls, the fact the attack appeared to be a suicide bombing, and the name of the attacker, were all released through US outlets, apparently via leaky US intelligence sources.

Intelligence is shared between Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the UKUSA agreement, the so called "Five Eyes" programme.

The latest leaks come after Theresa May personally expressed confidence in the US-UK intelligence sharing programme. Questioned about Mr Trump's apparent leaking to the Kremlin, Ms May had said: "We continue to work with the United States and we continue to share intelligence with the United States, as we do with others around the world."

The Associated Press news agency last week reported an official from an unnamed European country saying that they might stop sharing intelligence with Washington due to leaks, and that continuing to do so “could be a risk for our sources”.

22 people were killed and 59 injured, many of them children, in Monday night's attack on the Manchester Arena during a concert by pop star Ariana Grande.

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