Amber Rudd: US intelligence leak of Manchester attacker identity 'irritating'

Written by Nicholas Mairs and Kevin Schofield on 24 May 2017 in News

The Home Secretary said she had made it “perfectly clear” that such a leak should never happen again

Home Secretary Amber Rudd - Dan Kitwood/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Britain has complained to the American government after confidential intelligence about the Manchester terror attack was leaked to the US media.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she was "irritated" that information shared by UK security chiefs with their American counterparts had subsequently been publicised in the States.

US government sources revealed yesterday that the attack on an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, which killed 22 people including an eight-year-old girl, had been the result of a suicide bomb.


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That revelation, and later the identity of the attacker, UK-born Salman Abedi, was subsequently covered by several major American news outlets, despite the British authorities wanting to keep the intelligence under wraps.

“The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise,” she told the BBC’s Today programme.

“So it is irritating if it gets released by other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again.”

Rudd stopped short of accusing Washington of compromising the investigation when asked, but insisted the major UK ally has been made “perfectly clear” that such a leak should never happen again.

The Home Secretary added that it was “likely” Abedi did not act alone in the run up to the bombing on Monday night.

“It was a devastating occasion, it was as you say more sophisticated than some of the attacks that we’ve seen before and it seems likely, possibly, that he wasn’t doing this on his own,” she added.

“The intelligence services are pursuing their leads in order to make sure they get all the information and reduce therefore the risk that they need to keep us all safe.”

Rudd added that Abedi has been known by UK authorities “to a point”, but said further information would be revealed as the investigation continues.

“Well, the security services will know a lot of people, that doesn’t mean they are expected to arrest everybody they know,” she said.

“But it is somebody who they had known before and I’m sure when this investigation concludes we’ll be able to find out more.”

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