British officials not inclined to share info with US after Manchester leaks

by Grania

Jerry asked me to post this, although no doubt some of you are already aware of the situation.

The BBC broke the story that British officials and police have stopped sharing information with the US after both The New York Times and CBS published sensitive information that were apparently sourced through government leaks which police claim could undermine their current investigation.

CNN interviewed Shashank Joshi of the London-based Royal United Services Institute think tank on cross-border shared intelligence:

“A lot of the information that leaked overnight Monday was fairly mundane, about casualty figures and the method of attack, but the leaking of the suspect’s name was more disruptive because it might have tipped off other suspects.”

New Statesman also notes that the Israeli government is also reviewing intelligence sharing with Washington, no doubt in view of last fortnight’s debacle in the White House with Russian officials in the Oval Office as well as the leaked transcript of Trump’s call to Philippine President Duterte.

They conclude:

It’s all part of a clear and disturbing pattern, that even the United States’ strongest allies in Tel Aviv and London cannot rely on this president or his administration to keep their secrets.


  1. Adam M.
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I think Trump is a victim of a lot of the leaks, so I wouldn’t assume that Trump is somehow to blame (though he could be). Nonetheless it does seem like the administration has a lot of leakers in it, and people with their own agendas.

    I also think the UK officials are largely acting out of embarrassment or some similar feeling, since almost all of the complaints I’ve heard reported have centered around things like pictures of the carnage and the aforementioned casualty figures, which I can’t imagine would really undermine any investigation. (For instance, a BBC radio report I heard yesterday didn’t even mention the fact that the suspect’s name was leaked, but focused only on the photos and casualty information.)

    • Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      The photos included a photo of the detonator switch and a fragment of a rucksack that may have been part of the bomb. I could believe that these were sensitive to the enquiry.

      • Craw
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        The investigators think otherwise. I give their judgement more weight than your disbelief.
        It is not uncommon in investigations to use undisclosed details to both weed out bogus information and to surreptitiously pursue leads. Neither can be done in this case now.

        • darrelle
          Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          I am not sure but I think you may have misunderstood jeremy’s comment.

          You may have misread “I could believe” as “I could not believe.”

          • Gamall
            Posted May 26, 2017 at 5:17 am | Permalink

            I blame the “I could care less” plague.

        • Posted May 26, 2017 at 3:25 am | Permalink

          You have misread my comment. I said “I could believe these were sensitive”, not “I could not believe”.

          As for your remark about giving the investigators’ judgement more weight than mine, I completely agree. The investigators are upset, they are the ones in a position to know, not you, not me, not Adam M.

    • Craw
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I agree. It seems there are a lot of rogue elements in the intel agencies leaking a lot of stuff. I wonder, if Trump cracks down and fires a lot of people for leaks, how those blaming him in this case will react.

      In any event this is very bad behavior from the leakers and from the NYT.

      • Craw
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes, I apologize to JP for my error.

      • ChrisB
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        I blame Trump insofar as he is POTUS and ultimately responsible for what comes out of his White House.

        People “blaming him in this case” I think would not blame him for firing WH staffers that are found to be leaks. I would fire them too, if I were in that position. But Trump seems unable to identify the leakers.

      • BJ
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Except Trump himself is the one who leaked that intel on ISIS to the Russians. Why would anybody trust a President with sensitive info when he can’t keep his damn mouth shut?

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 26, 2017 at 2:06 am | Permalink


          The NYT’s been getting on my nerves lately but I find it ludicrous to blame them and ignore the babbling dummkopf in the White House.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        If Trump wants to fire leakers, he should look first inside his own White House, ’cause it’s leaking like a sieve.

        But, hell, Trump could barely bring himself to fire Gen. Mikhail Flynn (a literal “foreign agent,” who had no business being the National Security Advisor), and did so only because Flynn’s seditious contacts with the Russian ambassador, and lying about same, were disclosed in The Washington Post.

    • ChrisB
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      To the extent that the leaked information is just embarrassing and doesn’t actually harm the investigation, I think UK intelligence is counting themselves lucky.

      It does, however, reveal that intelligence shared with the US White House may get leaked. That will make them less likely to share information with us.

    • eric
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes, people in the agencies are probably leaking stuff without the administration’s approval. But the leadership of and morale of his agencies IS his responsibility. Nor is this a matter of a partisan left civil service undermining a conservative President, as no other GOP president has had this problem to this extent at least since Nixon (and moreover, its really hard to claim organizations such as the FBI, CIA, etc. are ‘partisan left’).

      People other than Trump may be doing it. But they’re doing it in part because Trump is such a crappy leader that he doesn’t even inspire the minimal respect federal civil servants give to their elected and appointed leaders as a matter of the job.

      • Wotan Nichols
        Posted May 26, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        Trump’s pattern since before he was inaugurated has been to tweet high dudgeon about the leaks w/out seeming to care much about their effects or what they say about his administration.

  2. Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Secrecy always gets a bad press but I don’t think I’ve ever had a job that didn’t involve information that, for one reason or another, had to be held in confidence.

  3. Tom
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    This is weird, its difficult to fathom what is happening.
    This was detailed and leaked very quickly and has certainly caused President Trump embarrassment.
    Was that the intention?
    Whatever, it has certainly damaged intelligence sharing.
    Perhaps that was the intention?
    No doubt the investigation of the bombing will cover this story as well.
    Anyway, President Johnson always said that the White House itself leaked like a sieve.

  4. Veroxitatis
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I expect the main purpose is to embarrass Trump and show him up as a President who is not respected by his underlings.

    • Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps, but I think it is best policy to not attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. After all, if there is ANY defining feature of this administration, it is incompetence.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      That doesn’t sound very plausible to me. We already have many examples that indicate that Trump and many of his people are incompetent. We also have at least one pretty clear example of Trump himself stupidly sharing intelligence received from a close ally that he should not have. That doesn’t rule out your scenario, but I’m skeptical.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        I agree.

      • sshort
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


      • Veroxitatis
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        You’re probably right. But I guess that post Comey there will be many in the Intelligence Community with other agendas.

      • BJ
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Not only that, but as one of his first actions after taking office, he purposefully embarrassed and shamed the intelligence community.

        • eric
          Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          That’s exactly the sort of failure of leadership that IMO causes things like this. Trump constantly attacks the people working for him. He insults their service and their character. He makes errors and lies, and then throws his underlings under the bus to cover for himself.

          Lots of Presidents have fired appointees that embarrassed them, but none of them did it as callously or ham-handedly as Trump fired Comey. Lots of Presidents have cut civil service jobs, but none of them have insulted the civil service to the extent Trump has…or appointed directors to those agencies that that have publicly stated that the agency they’re in charge of serves no useful purpose and shouldn’t exist. Lots of Presidents have cut administration budgets, but none of them have done it with such a complete disregard for Senate and House constituencies and interests.

          And he wonders why the leaks.

          I’m sure many people have said this before, but Trump doesn’t get that the Presidency isn’t a dictatorship. He has to work with many many other people who don’t share his interests to be successful at it. And he seems to be very unwilling to do that.

          • wanstronian
            Posted May 26, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

            Trump’s words and actions are typical of someone suffering a massive inferiority complex, and who holds an office that he knows is beyond him.

          • darrelle
            Posted May 26, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            He does indeed seem to be unwilling to work with others, or even incapable of it. But I think another equally significant problem is that Trump doesn’t have a clue how government works. If he ever thought about it at all he just assumed he would be able to wing it off the cuff doing whatever the primitive impulse that occupies his mind at any given moment inspires him to do. Like the rest of his life.

            Combine that with an unwillingness or inability to learn from others inspired by a truly epic narcissism, possibly fueled by a tiny hands inspired inferiority complex, and you get the Trump presidency.

            • Diane G.
              Posted May 27, 2017 at 2:47 am | Permalink

              And the scary thing is, he’s pretty much getting away with it, so far.

              Why do so many people admire a bully?

              • Posted May 27, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                On the one hand, there’s fear of the alternative: If Trump goes down, the uber-religious right-wing Christian Vice President, Mike Pence, will replace him. If Pence goes down, then next in line is Paul Ryan, who is so pro-corporations and the rich, he’ll accomplish Trump’s financially motivated agenda with far greater skill. The fiscal divide will grow and the non-rich will face death at increasingly younger ages.

  5. darrelle
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    This could be really bad news for the US. It doesn’t surprise me. The Trump administration is incompetent and excessively corrupt. This is embarrassing.

    • Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      I think the Drumpf Admin. will go down as one of the (if not the) most corrupt and incompetent administrations in US history.

      Just weeks in; and the wheels are coming off already.

      • eric
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Agree completely about the corruption and incompetence. Though I’m not sure the wheels will come off. The GOPers in the House and Senate seems to have basically the same attitude towards him as the conservative christian voters who supported him in such great numbers (mystifying most of the rest of us) – ‘we don’t care about any of that, as long as you deliver to us conservative judges and policies’

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 26, 2017 at 2:10 am | Permalink

          He’s their useful idiot.

        • wanstronian
          Posted May 26, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

          Yes, I think they’ve resolved to buckle up and hang on for now.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Scotland Yard-based SO15 anti-terrorist police unit has a constantly changing roster of temporarily attached US cops

    The many leaks over the years of active international police operations are probably at that level. American law enforcement culture is shockingly [to my Brit sensibility] out of step with us – I saw the word “blabbermouths” used today in this context & it seems accurate. I note that huge amounts of detail appears in US media prior to trial. Cases are under the media microscope & ‘tried’ long before there’s even a court date.

    A different culture

    We don’t need to invoke White House apparatchiki [non-Russian type] to explain this – a friendly, discrete London pub & a journo on expenses can move mountains!

  7. Frank Bath
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Anglophone UK, USA, Canada, Australia & NZ are known as ‘five eyes’ and share all intelligence as routine. This is how the Manchester info got to the US. Someone in US counter-intelligence leaked it to the police and they sent it on – as I understand it over here in London. A bloody bad show.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    No doubt US allies simply assume at this stage that any classified information disclosed to Trump will be turned over, tout de suite, to his paymasters in the Kremlin (and that he otherwise cannot be trusted to keep his yap shut about “secrets”).

    Western intelligence agencies probably have plans to use him as an asset to disseminate reverse-dezinformatsiya to the Russians.

    • eric
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Western intelligence agencies probably have plans to use him as an asset to disseminate reverse-dezinformatsiya to the Russians.

      If our allies treat us that way, I’d have to sadly say that we deserve it.

  9. Filippo
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink


  10. ethan
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    This steady drumbeat of leaks the past few months shows us — at the very least — that we have a healthy, vibrant press, a press that works. How much “transparency” in government do people want when they claim to want more transparency in government? Leakers in the Trump White House are probably horrified at his temperament and his seeming mental instability. They seem to be leaking out of a patriotic conviction. I am surprised (in the best way) that the New York Times and the Washington Post get so much right in the string of “bombshells” that have been regularly flowing, especially the past few weeks. Our own FBI and other intel agencies appear to be the source of some leaks. Maybe this is what is supposed to happen when a loose cannon like Trump wins the Presidency and the “old guard” and defenders of the country become alarmed.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I think you maybe missing the true point here and others as well. Intelligence and the leaks therein are from inside the intelligence agencies, of which there are many – lets just say homeland security, FBI, CIA and others. It has been a problem for some time but when it is leaking of info coming from foreign allies intelligence, that is most serious. In the case of the Israeli problem just a few days back, that was a very unusual situation because it was said to be Trump, leaking directly to Russians in the white house without permission from Israel. So then the leak of this happening was from someone else in the room. If I were Britain or Israel or others, I would be very hesitant to share with the U.S. if all of it continues. People get killed and this cannot be tolerated. The U.S. intelligence agencies, congress and the executive will end up high and dry if they do not fix it.

      Good journalism does not need leaks to do their job. In fact, good journalist who come across leaks that they think might be damaging, get it checked out before ever releasing it.

  11. Posted May 25, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Overview: Obama and his predecessors had nowhere near such leakage. All the people in government, now, are either holdovers from previous presidents of both or either major party, so if they knew better than to leak before, chances are they know better, now, too. That leaves people who are part of the Trump era, i.e., supporters who believe in “draining the swamp” and other snap judgements they can shoot from the hip, in order to make themselves feel empowered and important, the way their hero, Trump, has done and continues to do.

    I am not surprised.

    The swamp was drained and replaced with raw sewage.

    • Posted May 25, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      Wow. I really should have proof-read first. Please mentally correct all editing errors. Thank you.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 26, 2017 at 2:20 am | Permalink

        Your message was perfectly clear.

        “The swamp was drained and replaced with raw sewage.”

        …one of the all-time best lines ever!

        (Redundant, I know. And I’m not even gonna edit it.)

        • Posted May 26, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Or we get a bit of a pile of both …

        • Posted May 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          +1 to that. I wonder if late night comedy shows pay for good jokes? That one deserves a wide audience.

        • Posted May 27, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for understanding.

  12. Posted May 26, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  13. Posted May 26, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Seriously? The President’s deep state enemies in the intelligence apparatus are now “his Administration?” Hey, whatever fits the narrative, but it’s stunning that anyone can take that kind of cant seriously.

  14. BJ
    Posted May 26, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The Brits have now taken it back and said they’re going back to normal info-sharing protocol.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 27, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink

      What nations say publicly may have no relation to what course they actually pursue.

  15. nicky
    Posted May 26, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    It could be suspected that US officials are weary to share info with Trump.

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