Home Secretary Amber Rudd has criticized US authorities after confidential details about the Manchester terror attack appeared in the media having been leaked by American spooks.
British police had held off on releasing information such as the attacker’s name on Tuesday. Several American news organizations published details, however, citing anonymous US officials who leaked the details from their conversations with British authorities.
CBS reported the name hours before anyone other outlet.
We’ve learned more about Salman Abedi from American and French security services than the UK Government.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 24, 2017
US-UK intelligence alliance snafu redux: officials here ask media not to name Manc bomber. US officials leaking name left, right, centre
— Sam Gad Jones (@samgadjones) May 23, 2017
The bomber’s name:
U.K. police: “Speculation is unhelpful and potentially damaging to investigation”
US security services: “Here you are”
— Thomas Penny (@ThomasWPenny) May 23, 2017
The initial death tolls, the fact the attack appeared to be a suicide bombing, and the name of the attacker, Salman Abedi, 22, were all released through US media, apparently through leaky intelligence sources.
A US intel official tells @nbcnews members of bomber’s family warned sec officials about him in past, that he was “dangerous.”
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) May 24, 2017
Rudd told the BBC that the US’s conduct had been “irritating” and that she made it clear to American counterparts that such leaks “shouldn’t happen again.”
“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 said.
Asked whether the leak 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.”
22 people were killed and some 59 injured, many of them children, in Monday night’s attack on the Manchester Arena during a concert by pop star Ariana Grande.
It has prompted the UK terror threat to be raised from severe to critical – the highest level – which means an attack is “expected imminently.” Investigators fear that the British born bomber of Libyan descent was part of a wider network of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) inspired terrorists, including a bomb-maker, who may still be at large.
Rudd believes it is “likely, possible” that the attacker was not acting on his own.
Last week, prime minister Theresa May said Britain would continue to work and share intelligence with the US following claims that president Donald Trump leaked classified intelligence to the Russian foreign ministry.
“We will continue to work with the US and continue to share intelligence with the US, as we do with others around the world, because we are all working together to deal with the threats that we face.”
The Russian foreign ministry has dismissed reports that Trump revealed classified information to Sergey Lavrov as “fake news.”
Intelligence is shared between Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the UKUSA agreement, the so-called “Five Eyes” programme.