The expectation it would remain secret

The Manchester police aren’t waiting on what May and Trump say to each other in Brussels; they’ve closed the door themselves.

British police have stopped sharing evidence from the investigation into the terror network behind the Manchester bombing with the United States after a series of leaks left investigators and the government furious.

The ban is limited to the Manchester investigation only. British police believe the leaks are unprecedented in their scope, frequency and potential damage.

Downing Street was not behind the decision by Greater Manchester police to stop sharing information with US intelligence, a No 10 source said, stressing that it was important police were allowed to take independent decisions.

Again, imagine the fury if they did this to us.

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, in which six further arrests have been made in the UK and two more in Libya.

It was the latest of a series of leaks to US journalists that appeared to come from inside the US intelligence community, passing on data that had been shared between the two countries as part of longstanding security cooperation.

I have to wonder why they’re leaking it. If keeping the details secret is likely to help find other perps, then what can possibly be the motivation for leaking it?

Whitehall sources reported a sense of deflation among UK security staff at the amount of detail coming out of America. The UK had shared the material with US police and intelligence in the expectation it would remain secret. The amount released is hampering at least part of the investigation, they believe.

Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, said the leaks were arrogant and disrespectful, and police chiefs also criticised the actions.

A national counter-terrorism policing spokesperson said: “We greatly value the important relationships we have with our trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world.

“When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families. This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorised disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter-terrorism investigation.”

I just read the Times article, and those photos and descriptions certainly do look like potential evidence. I can’t figure out what they were thinking.

Maybe it’s a free press thing run amok:

Ian Blair, who was Metropolitan police commissioner during the London underground bombings on 7 July 2005, said his investigation had also been troubled by leaks from US intelligence.

Blair said he was sure the leaks had “nothing to do with Trump” given that similar leaks had happened during his own time investigating a terror attack.

“I’m afraid this reminds me exactly of what happened after 7/7, when the US published a complete picture of the way the bombs had been made up. We had the same protests.

“It’s a different world in how the US operates in the sense of how they publish things. And this is a very grievous breach but I’m afraid it’s the same as before.”

Not clever.

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