Published: Fri, May 26, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

President Trump condemns US Manchester attack leaks | Calls leaks "deeply troubling"

President Trump condemns US Manchester attack leaks | Calls leaks

Over the past three days several key details of the investigation, including the name of the bomber, first came out in United States media, angering British police who feared such leaks risked compromising their investigation.

"These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this", Trump said in a statement released by the White House as he arrived at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels. He said they pose a "grave threat" to national security.

President Trump said should the individual who leaked the Manchester photographs to the New York Times be found, they "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".

The decision to stop sharing police information was an extraordinary step for Britain, which is usually at pains to emphasise its "special relationship" with the United States.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to confront President Donald Trump Thursday about leaks from the investigation into the deadly Manchester Arena attack - leaks that may have come from USA officials.

May also said she will make clear to Trump during Thursday's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels that she wants the countries' shared intelligence to be protected.

US President Donald Trump reacts as he arrives for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters, in Brussels, on May 25, 2017.

Trump also had lunch with Macron, who has been critical of the Republican president. Notably, he also did not offer an explicit public endorsement of NATO's "all for one, one for all" collective defense principle, though White House officials said his mere presence at the meeting signaled his commitment.

"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", Rudd told BBC Radio.

Police, who believe Abedi was part of a network, are holding eight people in custody in connection with the attack. "These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this", he said.

Russia: Islamic State group 'prepared attacks' in Moscow
The FSB said those held included citizens of Russian Federation and ex-Soviet Central Asia who were "preparing terror attacks with the use of homemade explosives on Moscow's transport infrastructure".

"We greatly value the important relationships we have with our trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world", said the National Police Chiefs' Council in a statement. "It...undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families. This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counterterrorism investigation".

The report included pictures of the remnants of a backpack and a battery that investigators believed were used by Salman Abedi, the alleged 22-year-old suspect, to carry and detonate an improvised explosive device (IED).

"Our coverage of Monday's horrific attack has been both comprehensive and responsible", the newspaper said. Daesh terrorists have claimed responsibility for the attack. Campaigning for the June 8 elections here resumed after being suspended since the arena attack. But neither he nor the White House have disputed that he discussed the airliner plot with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in Washington. "This is British intelligence at the end of the day, people shouldn't be finding out about this".

At a lower level, however, there could be an erosion of trust.

"I think it's pretty disgusting", said Scott Lightfoot, a Manchester resident, speaking outside a train station in the city.

This isn't the first time that operational details in an ongoing investigation have come out in the United States. It said the database was built around a longstanding U.S.

In London, Lew Lukens, the acting US ambassador, also promised that "appropriate steps will be taken" following an investigation of the leaks. "So because of this climate of lack of trust, there are risks to lives, frankly - to citizens who might be the victims of the next attack", he added.

The revelation came from a leaked transcript of an April 29 phone call between the two leaders.

"These leaks are awful", he said.

"It's totally out of the question for NATO to engage in any combat operations", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, on the eve of the meeting.

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