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article imageBritain angered at U.S. over leaks of Manchester attack info

By Arthur Weinreb     May 25, 2017 in World
BBC is reporting the Manchester police have stopped sharing information with the U.S. after details of the terrorist attack, not released to the public, appeared in the American media. Theresa May plans to confront Donald Trump about the leaks today.
The Greater Manchester Police are the lead investigators in the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena that took the lives of 22 people and injured scores more. Once information is gathered, it is given to the National Counter Terrorism Security Office. That office then shares this information with other governments. Specifically, under the Five Eyes Intelligence agreement, the information is shared with the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Shortly after the attack, the suicide bomber was identified as Salman Abedi, 22. British authorities made the decision not to release Abedi’s name to the public until after raids were conducted at his home. Before these raids could be carried out, Abedi’s name was reported by CBS and NBC.
Pictures of the scene of the attack were sent to United States intelligence agencies including photos of the killer’s blood-stained backpack, fragments of the bomb and other debris. Within hours of sending this evidence to American authorities, these pictures appeared in the New York Times. Not only were the photographs published, but the newspaper gave a detailed account of the explosive device and how the attack was probably carried out.
British authorities were furious. Prior to the pictures being released, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, referred to the leaking of Abedi’s name in the American media before it was publicly released as “irritating.” She said she hopes it never happens again but it did again when the pictures were published.
British officials believe the information released to the American media came from security agencies and not the White House.
A source at Whitehall said not only will the release of this information upset the families of the victims but there is a risk it will compromise the investigation. The National Police Chiefs Council said the sharing of information with other governments helps fight terrorism and protect the public. But when the trust between countries is breached, it harms the investigation, witnesses and victims’ families. The statement went on to say the damage is greater when information is leaked in the middle of a major investigation. The investigation is continuing and at the time of this writing, 10 men have been arrested and are being held in custody.
READ ALSO: 10 held in Manchester attack probe
Andy Burnham, mayor of Manchester, complained to the U.S ambassador and said he was assured the leaks would stop. But they didn’t. Burnham tweeted “They haven’t. Arrogant, wrong and disrespectful to GM [Greater Manchester].”
The British government is investigating the source of the leaks. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to confront President Donald Trump about these leaks when the two meet at the NATO summit in Brussels today. Much of the summit is expected to be about terrorism in the wake of the attack in Manchester.
According to BBC, the refusal of the Manchester police to share intelligence information with the U.S. is expected to be temporary.
More about manchester attack, salman abedi, Theresa May, Donald trump, Leaks
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