British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to confront President Donald Trump Thursday about leaks from the investigation into the deadly Manchester Arena attack — leaks that may have come from U.S. officials.
May said she planned to raise the issue to Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels, hoping to “make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure.” A British official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Manchester police would stop sharing information about their bombing investigation until they received a guarantee there would be no more leaks to the news media.
The New York Times published photos that provided detailed evidence of the bomb used in the Manchester attack. Though it’s unclear if the newspaper obtained the information from U.S. officials, the story has angered many British officials and distressed the families of the victims.
Greater Manchester Police condemned the leaks on behalf of the National Counterterrorism Policing units in a statement that suggested a severe rupture in trust between Britain and the United States, whose law enforcement officials have traditionally shared intelligence at the highest levels.
“When the trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their family,” the statement said.
“This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counterterrorism investigation.”
They also criticized U.S. officials for releasing the name of the bomber, Salman Abedi, to the public early into the investigation. The name was being withheld for operational security and was published as raids were under way both in Manchester and in Libya, where the bomber’s father lives.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd complained the leaks could cost police “the element of surprise” in their bid to prevent future attacks.
Trump is expected to attend the meeting with NATO on Thursday, part of his first foreign trip since taking office. He met with EU officials earlier in the day to discuss issues like climate change and trade.
Eight men have now been detained in connection with Monday’s attack. Those include Abedi’s two brothers, Hashim and Ismail, as well as his father, Ramadan Abedi. A woman was arrested late Wednesday, but was released without charge.
Manchester police said the arrests were “significant” and the investigation continues with searches that will take place for several more days. They added they’ve uncovered items during the raids and searches across the city that are believed to be important to the investigation.
Twenty-two people were killed when the explosion ripped through the foyer of Manchester Arena as singer Ariana Grande was wrapping up her concert. Another 116 people were wounded, with at least 12 children suffering from significant injuries. Grande’s reps announced on Wednesday that the singer will be suspending her tour for at least two weeks.
Manchester police said they believe they have identified all 22 victims killed in the attack, but it will take “several days” to formally announce the names to the public. A few tributes to victims have been posted on the Greater Manchester police’s Twitter page.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.