Concern mounts over US officials reportedly leaking information about Manchester bombing


U.K. and European officials have reportedly been taken aback by the information U.S. officials seem to be sharing with the media about the Manchester bombing.

For instance, Business Insider reported, "The police and Downing Street had refused to comment on the identity of the Manchester terror attacker on Tuesday afternoon, despite US news outlets widely identifying a suspect by name."

In fact, the U.K.'s Evening Standard reported that "the suspect was named by US security services in Washington."

Timeline of the Manchester Arena attack

And on Tuesday morning, Sky News tweeted, "U.S. officials say UK authorities have identified suspected Manchester bomber as Salman Abedi."

Meanwhile, the night before, ABC News' Joshua Hoyos tweeted, "Leading theory is Manchester was a suicide bomber, US senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation tells @ABC."

According to Business Insider, "Reports of the attacker's identity, the death toll and the fact that they were a suicide bomber all made their way onto US news channels before any official confirmation from UK authorities."

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There are concerns that these leaks could damage the investigation that is underway. They could also potentially cause friction between the two countries; Shashank Joshi with the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank, told BuzzFeed News, "UK officials will have other priorities at the moment, but when the dust settles they will be concerned by the way in which British information was leaked by US officials, sometimes hours ahead of its confirmation."

And an unnamed Belgian counterterrorism official told the media outlet that while the likelihood of leaks increases when working with a larger operation like the U.S., he said, "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]."

When the U.K. Prime Minister's spokesperson was asked about the apparent leaks by the U.S., the representative reportedly declined to comment.