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Trump threatens to prosecute over Manchester attack leaks | US news

Trump threatens to prosecute over Manchester attack leaks | US news

Trump threatens to prosecute over Manchester attack leaks | US news
May 26
12:21 2017


Donald Trump has ordered a review into how sensitive material relating to the Manchester terror attack that was shared across the Atlantic by British intelligence officials was leaked to the US media.

The president threatened to identify and prosecute those who handed unauthorised information to the New York Times after the UK government reacted with fury to the leaks.

His statement came just before Theresa May confronted him about the issue as the pair were waiting for the traditional group photograph of world leaders at a Nato summit in Brussels.

A senior government source said the prime minister had argued that intelligence shared with the US was “hugely important and valuable and must be kept secure”.

Trump said: “The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling. These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security.”

The US president said he was asking the justice department and other relevant agencies to launch a review: “If appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is no relationship we cherish more than the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.”

His intervention in the controversy over the leaks came as he also warned that “thousands and thousands” of potential terrorists could be entering western countries and posing a threat while governments were completely unaware of their identities

Trump was addressing 28 world leaders next to a memorial of 9/11 and the Berlin wall at Nato headquarters, asking them to observe a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives in Manchester.

“Prime Minister May, all of the nations today here grieve with you and stand with you,” he said, describing the attack as a terrible thing and repeating his claim that the perpetrators were best described as “losers”.

He said: “The recent attack on Manchester and the UK demonstrates the depths of the evil we face with terrorism. Innocent little girls and so many others were horribly murdered and badly injured when attending a concert. Beautiful lives with so much great potential torn from their families for ever and ever. It was a barbaric, a vicious attack upon our civilisation.”



US president Donald Trump waves after leaving the US embassy in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Yorick Jansens/AFP/Getty

Trump warned that countries were struggling to contain the terrorist threat. “You have thousands and thousands of people pouring into our various countries and spreading throughout and in many cases we have no idea who they are. We must be tough, we must be strong and we must be vigilant.”

On her way into the Nato meeting, May said the Manchester attack underlined the need for Nato to do more in the fight against terrorism and for other members to meet their defence spending commitments.

“On intelligence sharing, we have strong relations with the US, our closest partner, and that is of course built on trust,” she said. “Part of that is knowing intelligence can be shared confidently and I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence shared with law enforcement agencies must be secure.”

British officials were infuriated on Wednesday when the New York Times published forensic photographs of sophisticated bomb parts that UK authorities fear could complicate the expanding investigation into the lethal blast, in which six further arrests have been made in the UK, with two more in Libya.

It was the latest of a series of leaks to American journalists that appeared to come from US sources passing on data that had been shared between the two countries as part of a long-standing security cooperation.

A Whitehall source said: “These images from inside the American system are clearly distressing to victims, their families and other members of the public. Protests have been lodged at every relevant level between the British authorities and our US counterparts. They are in no doubt about our huge strength of feeling on this issue. It is unacceptable.”

Police leaders also claimed that a breakdown of trust between intelligence authorities undermined investigations and the confidence of victims and their families. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, also intervened.



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