Police 'stop sharing Manchester bomb intelligence' after series of leaks

A police vehicle is seen outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, northern England, May 23, 2017.

Following a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, Mrs May said the terror threat level "will remain at critical" - meaning an attack is imminent - and the public should continue to be "vigilant". Images from the attack appeared in The New York Times just hours later, which was the final straw for British authorities.

Later on Thursday, May will reportedly raise the issue of the leaks with US President Donald Trump at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels.

American media first reported the initial death toll after the blast, citing USA officials, then the method of the attack and finally the identity of the bomber, before British officials wished to release the information.

May left for Brussels amid bitter complaints from British police and other security forces about leaks of sensitive material related to the investigation by USA officials.

Britain and the US have traditionally shared intelligence at the highest levels and - together with Canada, Australia and New Zealand - are members of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance. "These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this", Trump said.

The source said at any one time there could be 3,000 subjects of interest to MI5 and Abedi was part of a "larger pool" of people formerly classed in that category.

The episode is testing one of the world's closest intelligence-sharing partnerships and could have wider implications for collaboration between the USA and its closest allies.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump faced widespread criticism for appearing to leak top-secret intelligence, gathered by an allied nation on the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian ambassador during an Oval Office meeting earlier in May.

It said its coverage of the attack "has been both comprehensive and responsible".

He had recently passed through Germany and Turkey, authorities said Thursday. Bomber, identified as Salman Abedi, was known to intelligence agencies.

And bomb disposal units were rushed to a call at a college in the jittery city, with the police shutting down roads.

Separately, a Turkish official told The Associated Press that Abedi travelled through Istanbul and Duesseldorf on his way to Britain.

United States congressman Mike McCaul, Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the bomb was of a "level of sophistication" that might indicate its maker had foreign training. A woman detained on Wednesday was released without charges. Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the leaks "greatly" concerned him, and added that he had raised these with the US ambassador to Britain.

In total eight men are now in custody following the attack, carried out by Manchester-born Abedi, a 22-year-old from a family of Libyan origin.

The pictures were apparently taken by police investigators and, according to British government ministry sources, leaked by U.S. counterparts they had been shared with.

  • Anthony Vega