The United Kingdom is irritated with the United States for leaking information about the suicide bombing to the media before they were ready to release such information. Authorities in the U.K. attempted to control sensitive information about Monday’s deadly terrorist attack in Manchester at the Ariana Grande concert, but apparently, U.S. officials released the closely guarded details to media outlets. The leaks continued into Tuesday, even after the Manchester police chief asked people not to speculate or share information that didn’t come from official sources.
British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, told BBC Radio that she was “upset” that U.S. officials appeared to have leaked details to the press and she indicated that she would reconsider sharing similar information with the United States in the future. “The British police have been very clear they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise,” she said. “So it is irritating if it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again.”
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A Belgian counterterrorism expert told BuzzFeed News that he believes U.K. authorities are “livid” at U.S. officials for releasing confidential information. “It happens sometimes when a larger partner like America assists on an investigation like this one,” the anonymous official told BuzzFeed. “You know you are trading the additional resources they bring for a chance of increased leaks. In this case, I suspect the Brits are livid — I know we would be — to have a suspect ID’d before they’re ready, and obviously, the recent performance of the Trump administration on leaking sensitive information can’t be far from anyone’s mind if they examine the situation.”
The beginning of unofficial details being released happened when media outlets including NBC, Reuters, and CNN reported that U.S. officials said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. Six hours later, the Manchester police released a statement from Chief Constable Ian Hopkins confirming that the attacker died at the scene and was believed to be carrying an “improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.” In that statement, Hopkins stressed how important it was to let his department release information when the investigators thought it was safe to do so. “We would ask people not to speculate on his details or to share names,” he said. “There is a complex and wide-ranging investigation underway.”
But U.S. officials anonymously bypassed the U.K. authorities, sharing the name of the suspect, 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi, to several media outlets. That name was soon blasted everywhere, forcing U.K. authorities to release the bomber’s identity earlier than they planned.
This incident is sure to compound the issues that the United States is facing regarding how sensitive information is being released by those inside and outside of the Trump administration.
Credit: Huffington Post