UK criticises US leaks about concert bombing

London - Britain's home secretary criticised US officials on Wednesday for leaking sensitive information about the inquiry into the extremist attack that killed 22 people at a Manchester concert arena.

Amber Rudd told Sky News that US officials provided information to the news media that Britain preferred to keep confidential for reasons of operational security. Britain has raised its official terror threat to "critical" - meaning it is likely an attack is imminent - and is trying to uncover a suspected extremist network before it strikes again.

Rudd said the "element of surprise" in the police and security service measures could be compromised by information being released too quickly. Rudd said she had complained to US officials to make sure the flow of information is staunched.

British officials hadn't, for example, released the name of the bomber until it surfaced in the US media based on leaks from US officials briefed by their British counterparts. Other details also surfaced first because of leaks in Washington.

It comes at a time when European security officials have expressed concern about sharing intelligence with the US after President Donald Trump discussed highly classified intelligence about the Islamic State group with senior Russian officials visiting the White House.

Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told reporters on Wednesday he understands the concern about US leaks possibly harming the UK police operation.

"If that's something that we did, I think that's a real problem," he said. "If we gave up information that has interfered in any way with their investigation because it tipped off people in Britain - perhaps associates of this person that we identified as the bomber - then that's a real problem and they have every right to be furious."


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