Trump says intelligence leaks 'deeply troubling'

U.S. President Trump vowed on Thursday to bring anyone caught leaking American intelligence to justice after British police stopped sharing information about the Manchester suicide bombing with the United States.

USA officials released the suspected bomber's name and other details of the investigation into the deadly attack at the Manchester Arena Monday night, irking British investigators scrambling to keep details of the probe confidential.

British Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting Wednesday of her emergency security cabinet group to talk about intelligence reports on Abedi and concerns that he might have had outside support.

It's our deepest defense and security partnership that we have and it is built on trust, and part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently.

May raised British concerns with Trump at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on Thursday, telling him intelligence shared between their two countries had to remain secure.

Mr Trump said: "The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security".

A number of leaks have hit the Trump administration.

President Trump said should the individual who leaked the Manchester photographs to the New York Times be found, they "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".

He said that the United States would never stop fighting terrorism, calling the Manchester attacks "savage" and "barbaric".

At a ceremony at NATO's gleaming new headquarters, Trump reissued his longstanding call for members to pay their fair share, lecturing the expressionless leaders about spending more as they stood listening in awkward silence. As the press watched, the two men exchanged a very firm handshake during their meeting, both men gripping tight, their faces showing the strain.

"The prime minister expressed her view that the intelligence sharing relationship with the hugely important and valuable but obviously the intelligence needs to be kept secure", the senior United Kingdom official said.

Authorities in Britain have become increasingly angered by U.S. leaks from the investigation, including the bomber's name on Wednesday and the photos of blood-stained fragments from the bomb yesterday.

British authorities identified Salman Abedi as the bomber who was responsible for Monday's explosion in Manchester which killed more than 20 people.

British officials are particularly angry that photos detailing evidence about the bomb were published in The New York Times, although it's not clear that the paper obtained the photos from USA officials.

Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Blair said the leak of images from the attack was a "grievous breach", but added that something similar had happened after the London 7/7 bombings.

"It is absolutely understandable the distress and upset that this caused to these families that are already suffering", he said. Dozens were also wounded in the incident. Hopkins said the arrests were significant.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd conceded on Wednesday night that Abedi was known the intelligence services. He had been in Libya for three weeks and returned days before his attack, USA military officials told CNN.

A spokesman for the local counterterrorism force said his brother Hashem Abedi was arrested on suspicion of links with Isis (Islamic State) and was suspected of planning to carry out an attack in the Libyan capital. He said his son was getting ready to visit Saudi Arabia for a short Umrah pilgrimage then planned to head to Libya to spend the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with his family.

A Turkish official said Abedi had transited through Istanbul's Ataturk airport "recently" and did not enter Turkey.

It also reports that British police informed their German counterparts Abedi had received paramilitary training in Syria. He did say, however, that it could not have been Syria because there are no flights to or from Syria from Istanbul. While the precise details of when and how Salman Abedi chose to turn to violent extremist remain unknown, his sister said he was loving but driven by a desire for revenge.

According to information procured by Skynews Arbiya, the father of the terrorist is Ramadan Bul Qasim Al Abedi, member of the combating Libyan Group, led by Abdul Hakim Belhaj, who is connected with the Muslim Brotherhood Al Salabi, and who is living in Qatar.

Trump, who had no apparent role in the disclosures, called the leaks "deeply troubling". The Wall Street Journal cited a family friend saying that Abedi had travelled to Libya with his father in 2011 to join the Tripoli Brigade militia as it battled the regime of Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Abedi got his passport back after telling his father he was going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, but returned to England instead. Investigators found a "significant" link between Abedi and Raphael Hostey, a young fellow Mancunian who allegedly recruited IS members before reportedly being killed in a drone strike in Syria previous year.

  • Salvatore Jensen