UK Police stop sharing intelligence about Manchester attack with US

UK Police stop sharing intelligence about Manchester attack with US

UK Police stop sharing intelligence about Manchester attack with US

If confirmed, the halt to the sharing investigative details with Britain's most important defense and security ally would underscore the level of anger in Britain at leaks to the USA media of details about the police investigation.

British officials were particularly angry over photos published by The New York Times showing remnants of a blue backpack which may have held the explosive.

"I think it's very clear this is a network we are investigating", Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Manchester Police said as authorities raided British properties thought to be connected to Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old suspected bomber who grew up in Manchester and died in the attack.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said that only intelligence relating to the Manchester probe had been suspended, adding that "we quite frankly can't afford to risk it any more". Officials believe the leaks are coming from USA law enforcement, rather than the White House. The Times, without specifying the source, said British authorities provided access to photos of materials found at the scene.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will raise concerns over leaks of intelligence related to the Manchester terror attack with President Donald Trump at Thursday's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting.

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Abedi reportedly returned from Libya only a few days before the attack which killed 22 people including several children but police are still trying to pin down his movements as well as a wider network.

The UK wants to know there will be no further leaks from the investigation. "But I can say that they are perfectly clear about the situation and that it shouldn't happen again".

Greater Manchester Police condemned the leaks on behalf of the National Counter-Terrorism Policing units in a statement that suggested a severe rupture in trust between Britain and the United States, who have traditionally shared intelligence at the highest levels. "These relationships enable us to collaborate and share privileged and sensitive information".

"When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families", he continued.

Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British-born national of Libyan descent, was named by police as the suicide bomber in Monday's attack, and investigations are underway to uncover his associates. His name first surfaced in US media reports on Tuesday, based on briefings given to USA officials by their counterparts in London.

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U.S. congressman Mike McCaul, Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the bomb was of a "level of sophistication" that might indicate its maker had foreign training.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan confirmed that Rudd, who spoke with DHS Secretary John Kelly by phone Wednesday, had raised the matter.

Just hours before the leak on Wednesday, Britain's Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said that she was "irritated" by the disclosures and said she had spoken to USA authorities. "They've asked all of us to better protect the information that we have so as not to impede their investigation".

Meanwhile Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins hit out at the leaks of intelligence by United States agencies to the media, which had caused "distress and upset" to the families of victims of the atrocity.

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