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May to raise US terror intelligence leaks with Trump at NATO

Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 15:22

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Prime Minister Theresa May will raise British concerns over leaks of intelligence related the Manchester terror attack with President Donald Trump after UK authorities stepped up their criticism of US intelligence officials for what they see as a breach of trust.

[LONDON] Prime Minister Theresa May will raise British concerns over leaks of intelligence related the Manchester terror attack with President Donald Trump after UK authorities stepped up their criticism of US intelligence officials for what they see as a breach of trust.

Mrs May, a former Home Secretary, will use the opportunity of a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday to speak with Mr Trump about her concerns, according to a UK government official with knowledge of her plans.

Police issued a strongly worded statement late on Wednesday after the New York Times published photographs of the crime scene where a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert. Home Secretary Amber Rudd had earlier criticized US officials for sharing details of the atrocity with American media. The Times didn't say where it got the information.

"We greatly value the important relationships we have with our trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world," the National Counter Terrorism Policing office said in a statement on Wednesday evening. "When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations." The leaks have prompted speculation that UK intelligence officials may seek to dial back the tight cooperation they have traditionally enjoyed with their closest ally.

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With the investigation into the bombing that killed children at a pop concert continuing, Mrs May will cut short her trip to a Group of Seven meeting in Sicily, returning Friday night after the first day of the two-day summit to deal with the terror threat.

Manchester police said on Wednesday they're investigating a network they think orchestrated the bombing, and the suspected perpetrator's father and brother were arrested in Tripoli. Seven arrests have so far been made in the UK in connection with the attack. Police said Thursday that a woman arrested in Blackley had been released without charge.

Manchester's mayor, Andy Burnham, told the BBC he had raised concerns about the leaks with the US ambassador, while Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper said she was "very troubled" by those occurring in the middle of an investigation where public safety may be at risk. Before further details were published by the New York Times, Ms Rudd had said she had been "very clear with our friends that that should not happen again." The victims of the attack were still being identified on Wednesday, and pictures of British troops deployed in the central government district in Westminster, armed with assault rifles, dominated the news. The deployment, designed to free up police officers to pursue the terrorists behind the attack, is the largest on the British mainland in decades.

Police now say that the suspected bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who died in the attack, was part of a network. Manchester police arrested a man reported to be Abedi's brother. Another brother and the suspect's father were arrested in Libya, witnesses and security forces said. A woman was arrested following an armed raid in Manchester on Wednesday evening.

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