Thursday, 25 May 2017

Manchester attack: President Trump condemns media leaks

US President Donald Trump has said leaks of the investigation into the Manchester attack to the US media are "deeply troubling".

They were a "grave threat to our national security", he added, and his administration would get to the bottom of it.

His remarks come after US media published photos from the scene of Monday night's attack.

Salman Abedi blew himself up, killing 22 adults and children.

Mr Trump, who is at the Nato summit in Brussels with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, said: "These leaks have been going on for a long time.
"I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and 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 US and the UK."

Earlier, the top US diplomat in the UK Lewis Lukens condemned the leaks as "reprehensible" and told the BBC action would be taken to identify those responsible.

It comes as police described the eight arrests made since the bombing as significant and items seized in raids as "very important".

On Wednesday, the New York Times outraged British police and government officials when it published photos appearing to show debris from the attack.

They included bloodstained fragments from the bomb and the backpack used to conceal it.

Greater Manchester Police were said to be "furious" and said they would stop sharing information with the US.

Its chief constable Ian Hopkins said the leak undermined the investigation and had distressed families "already suffering terribly with their loss".

The New York Times newspaper has defended its decision to publish the pictures, saying they were "neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims".

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will make clear to US President Donald Trump that shared intelligence must remain secure at a NATO summit in Brussels.

UK officials believe that US law enforcement rather than the White House is the likely culprit for the leaks, BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera says.

In other developments:

  • Armed officers are to patrol trains nationwide for the first time
  • A possible suspicious package was declared safe after army bomb disposal experts were called to a street in Hulme, near Manchester city centre
  • UKIP's Suzanne Evans said Theresa May had to take "some responsibility" for the Manchester bombing
  • Manchester City and Manchester United have jointly pledged £1m to an emergency fund set up to support the victims
BBC    News.