British PM Theresa May to confront Donald Trump over US leaks regarding Manchester Bombing

In Brussels for the NATO summit, May told reporters that the deep defense and security partnership between the U.S. and Britain "is built on trust and part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently."

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British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the NATO summit in Brussels, May 25, 2017.Source-VOA

Brussels, May 25, 2017: British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will raise concerns on Thursday with President Donald Trump over U.S. leaks to the media revealing details of the Manchester bombing investigation.

In Brussels for the NATO summit, May told reporters that the deep defense and security partnership between the U.S. and Britain “is built on trust and part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently.”

“I will be making it clear to President Trump today that inteligence that is shared between law enforcement agency must remain secure,” she said.

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In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said the “alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling.” “I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to
launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

Police working on the Manchester case, who are “furious about the disclosures,” have stopped sharing information with their American counterparts, according to media reports.

The halt in sharing with the United States of police information about the attack will remain in place until assurances are received from Washington that there will be no further leaks, news reports said Thursday.

Various U.S. media outlets reported the name of the suicide bomber, attributing the information to American officials, before it was released by British officials. The New York Times subsequently published forensic photographs from the attack, which had not been officially released.

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People attend a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended Monday night.
People attend a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended Monday night, VOA

Terrorism fight to top talks

Before meetings this week with NATO leaders, Trump has called terrorism the “number one” problem facing the world, and said we are “making tremendous progress” in the fight against terror.

Trump, meeting Wednesday with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, said the United States and NATO will work on “various problems,” but Trump pointed to the suicide bombing Monday in Britain and noted terrorism is at the top of the list.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel prior to a meeting at the Royal Palace in Brussels, May 24, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel prior to a meeting at the Royal Palace in Brussels, May 24, 2017, VOA

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“When you see something like that happened a few days ago, you realize how important it is to win this fight, and we will win this fight,” he said.

Aboard Air Force One, on the flight from Italy to Belgium, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump would be “very tough” on NATO allies Thursday and tell them “you need to make sure you’re doing your share for your security as well.”

Trump wants to “persuade NATO members to step up and fully meet their obligations under burden sharing the two percent of GDP is a target they all agreed to,” Tillerson told reporters.

“We have to be able to increase defense spending when tensions are going up. And tensions are going up,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Thursday.

The defense alliance is expected to give the U.S. president at least one big thing he wants, a commitment to the coalition to fight Islamic State.

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“We do think that would be a really important step for them to take,” Tillerson said.

Reassuring allies

Trump is likely to allay NATO members’ concerns about his administration’s commitment to the pact’s mutual assistance pledge, something that has been in doubt.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017, VOA

During a ceremony Thursday, Trump is expected to endorse Article 5, under which any NATO member agrees to come to the aid of an ally under attack. The only time it has been invoked was when al-Qaida terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.

Previous stops

Trump arrived in Brussels Wednesday following talks with the Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome. Trump said on Twitter after the meeting he is “more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.”

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017, VOA

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Prior to Wednesday’s meeting with the pope, Trump spent several days touring the Middle East and meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as other leaders in the Muslim world. While speaking to dozens of Muslim leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he called for Muslim unity in the fight against terrorism.

After participating in the inauguration of a new NATO headquarters and a meeting of the alliance’s leaders, the president will return to Italy, specifically the island of Sicily, for the Group of Seven summit.

May is to cut short her attendance at the NATO leaders’ meeting in Brussels amid a critical-level threat of another terrorist attack in her country. (VOA)