Officers investigating Manchester Arena bombing take decision as transatlantic row over leaks escalates
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.
“This is an operational matter for police,” a No 10 spokesman said. The police and the Home Office refused to comment. The Guardian understands there is not a blanket ban on intelligence-sharing between the US and the UK.
Relations between the US and UK security services, normally extremely close, have been put under strain by the scale of the leaks from US officials to the American media.
After chairing a meeting of the emergency Cobra meeting Theresa May said: “I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence shared between our security agencies must remain secure.” She is due to meet the US president at a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday.
British officials were infuriated on Wednesday when the New York Times publishedforensic 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.