MANCHESTER, ENGLAND— A British official says police in Manchester will stop sharing information about their bombing investigation with the U.S. until they get a guarantee that there will be no more leaks to the news media.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said there is progress being made on the investigation despite the leaks.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to raise the issue of the leaks with President Donald Trump in Brussels later Thursday.
British officials are particularly angry that photos detailing evidence about the bomb used in the Manchester attack were published in The New York Times, though it was not clear where those came from.
Manchester police would not comment on information-sharing, but said at a news conference that the families of attack victims were distressed by leaks.
U.K. Prime Minister to confront Pres. Trump about intelligence leaks
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday she would raise leaks to US media from the Manchester bombing investigation with US President Donald Trump when the pair meet later at a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium.
“I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure,” she said, following a cabinet-level security meeting in Westminster.
The United States has faced growing criticism from UK lawmakers over the leaks, amid concern they could disrupt the fast-moving investigation into Monday night’s attack against concertgoers.
May’s statement came a day after UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the leaks were “irritating,” and that she had made it clear to the United States that it “should not happen again.”
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the BBC on Thursday that the leaks were “arrogant.”
He added, “The cooperation between the US and the UK on intelligence matters is crucial for security around the world, so we can’t… this can’t see both sides pulling away, but that is why the Prime Minister, the government, are right to make this an issue at the summit today, and it’s why I have taken a step of speaking out too, and making my concerns known.”
Burnham, a Labour mayor, also said he had spoken with the US ambassador to Britain about his concerns.
Two Labour lawmakers tweeted their concern Wednesday. Yvette Cooper said she was very troubled by the leaks amidst a “live investigation where public safety at risk,” while Lilian Greenwood asked, “What is the Government doing with US counterparts to address these breaches?”
US sources were the first to reveal the identity of the bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, leading to concern that police efforts to hunt down his associates could be impacted.
On Wednesday, The New York Times posted photos that show what it said could be the detonator, a battery, nuts and screws for shrapnel, and fragments of a backpack used in the attack.
Britain’s National Police Chiefs’ Council warned Wednesday that leaks of potential evidence “undermine our investigations.”
A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) spokeswoman did not comment to CNN on the New York Times’ photo publication. The paper, without specifying the source, said British authorities provided access to photos of materials found at the scene.
Progress being made in investigation, Threat level remains critical
British Prime Minister Theresa May says progress is being made in the Manchester bombing investigation but the national threat level remains critical, meaning another attack may be imminent.
Speaking after a meeting of the government’s COBRA crisis committee, May said “the public should remain vigilant.” May said eight suspects are in custody and “progress is being made.”
The threat level for Britain was raised to its highest level after bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people at a concert Monday night at Manchester Arena. Police say he was part of a network and they are racing to track down his links.
UK holds moment of silence
Monday’s attack, which came as people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, took the lives of at least 22 people, including several children. Dozens were also wounded in the incident.
Identification of victims continues — as of Thursday morning local time 15 people who died in the blast have been named.
The family of 14-year-old Eilidh MacLeod released a statement through the police that spoke of their “devastation”. “Eilidh was vivacious and full of fun. She loved all music whether it was listening to Ariana or playing the bagpipes with her pipe band,” it said.
The grandfather of another teenage victim Sorrell Leczkowski, said he was “absolutely heartbroken” to confirm that she had died. “Sorrell was only 14, but she was our rock, she kept us all grounded. She was such a clever, talented, creative girl, there was nothing she couldn’t do,” said Michael Healy. Sorrell’s mother and grandmother were both injured, he said.
Queen Elizabeth II arrived Thursday morning at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and Children’s Hospital, where some of the wounded from Monday’s bombing are being treated.
Shortly beforehand, a moment of silence was held as the United Kingdom continued to come to terms with its worst terror attack since the 2005 London bombings. On Wednesday night, a win for soccer side Manchester United in the Europa League final in Stockholm was dedicated to the victims.
The Greater Manchester Police also warned late Wednesday of fraudulent online fundraising for the families of the victims, and pointed Twitter users to a legitimate JustGiving page.
Police respond to reported incident, situation deemed safe
Thursday morning Greater Manchester British Police sent out a tweet saying officers were responding to an incident on Linby Street in the Hulme area of Manchester.
A half hour later the department sent out another tweet saying the incident which involved a possible suspicious package has been deemed safe and the increased security presence has since cleared.