May to confront Trump as UK police stop
sharing attack information with U.S
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[May 25, 2017]
By Kylie MacLellan and Andrew Yates
LONDON/MANCHESTER (Reuters) - British Prime
Minister Theresa May said on Thursday she would tell U.S. President
Donald Trump that intelligence shared between their two countries had to
remain secure after leaks to U.S. media about the Manchester attack.
British police stopped sharing information about the suicide bombing
with the United States, a British counter-terrorism source told Reuters
earlier, after police chiefs said the leaks to media risked hindering
Police are hunting for a possible bomb-maker after the 22-year-old
attacker, British-born Salman Abedi, detonated a sophisticated device at
a concert venue packed with children on Monday night, killing 22 people.
May said she would talk to Trump at a NATO summit later on Thursday
about the leaks, which included the publication of photographs of the
bomb site by the New York Times.
"I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared
between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure," she said in a
The decision to stop sharing police information with U.S. agencies was
an extraordinary step as Britain sees the United States as its closest
ally on security and intelligence.
"This is until such time as we have assurances that no further
unauthorized disclosures will occur," said the counter-terrorism source,
who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Many European cities, including Paris, Berlin and Brussels, have
suffered attacks in the last two years, underlining the importance of
confidential intelligence cooperation.
Trump was widely criticized this month after it emerged he had discussed
sensitive Syria-related intelligence, originating from an ally, with
Russian officials at a White House meeting. May said at the time Britain
would continue to share intelligence with Washington.
The official threat level in Britain was raised after the Manchester
attack to "critical", its highest level, meaning a further attack could
be imminent. Troops have been deployed to free up police officers for
patrols and investigations.
England's National Health Service said a total of 116 had been injured
in the attack, with 75 admitted to hospital. Twenty-three remained under
Soldiers and bomb disposal experts rushed to a street in the south of
the city after a call to police, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
Queen Elizabeth visited the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, where
some of the casualties have been treated. A minute's silence was
observed in honor of the victims at a square in central Manchester and
in other places in Britain.
The bombing, which took place at the Manchester Arena indoor venue just
after the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande, was the
deadliest in Britain since July 2005, when 52 people were killed in
attacks on London's transport network.
The Manchester attack has caused revulsion across the world because it
targeted children and teenagers, who make up the bulk of Grande's fan
base. The victims range from an eight-year-old schoolgirl to parents who
had come to pick up their children.
A total of eight people are in custody in connection with the attack.
British media have reported that one of them is Abedi's brother but
police have not confirmed that.
Abedi's father and younger brother were arrested in Tripoli in Libya,
where the family originally come from.
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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing
Street in London. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Manchester's police chief said on Wednesday Abedi was part of a
network, and media have reported that authorities suspect he
received help constructing the bomb and planning the attack.
Police chiefs have made clear they are furious about the publication
of confidential material in U.S. media, including bomb site
photographs in the New York Times, saying such leaks undermined
relationships with trusted security allies.
"This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized
disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major
counter-terrorism investigation," a National Counter Terrorism
Policing spokesman said in a statement.
Britain routinely shares intelligence with the United States
bilaterally, and also as part of the "Five Eyes" network which also
includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
CRIME SCENE PICTURES
The pictures published by the New York Times included remains of the
bomb and of the rucksack carried by the suicide bomber, and showed
blood stains amid the wreckage.
"I think it's pretty disgusting," said Scott Lightfoot, a Manchester
resident, speaking outside a train station in the city. He
criticized media for publishing such material.
"Who's leaking it? Where's it coming from? This is British
intelligence at the end of the day, people shouldn't be finding out
The Financial Times reported that such images are available across a
restricted-access encrypted special international database used by
government ordnance and explosives experts in about 20 countries
allied with Britain. It said the database was built around a
longstanding U.S.-British system.
The BBC said Manchester police hoped to resume normal intelligence
relationships soon but were furious about the leaks.
U.S. channel ABC News reported that police had found a kind of
bomb-making workshop in Abedi's home and he had apparently
stockpiled enough chemicals to make additional bombs.
British news website The Independent also reported bomb-making
materials which could be primed for imminent attacks had been found
in the raids following the Manchester bombing. The report said one
suspect device was blown up in a controlled explosion.
Britain routinely shares intelligence with the United States, and
also as part of the "Five Eyes" network which also includes
Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
(Additional reporting by Kate Holton, Alistair Smout, William James,
William Schomberg and Paul Sandle; Writing by Estelle Shirbon and
Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
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