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‘Furious’ UK reportedly stops sharing intelligence with US following Manchester attack leak

Key Points
  • The U.K. resumed intelligence sharing on Friday morning, several hours after enforcing a temporary ban.
  • NATO's Jens Stoltenberg tells CNBC tensions over intelligence sharing between U.S.-U.K. are a bilateral issue.
  • British police have arrested eight men and one woman in relation to Manchester attack.
UK-US fallout on Manchester leaks likely to be mentioned to Trump

President Donald Trump has threatened to prosecute the source of intelligence leaks to U.S. media after the U.K. warned it would stop sharing information with U.S. agencies.

The U.K. temporarily stopped intelligence sharing with the U.S. in relation to the Manchester terror attack, but lifted the ban several hours later.

"The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling," Trump said in a statement released in Brussels on Thursday.

"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."

British officials were outraged when photos of debris from the attack were leaked and published in the New York Times, the BBC said on Thursday. The images vividly show part of the explosive device and jacket worn by the suicide bomber.

Though the Times did not disclose how it sourced the images, a senior U.S. law enforcement official authenticated the photos and said they had been provided to American investigators by British authorities.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May
Getty Images

Leaked information about the identity of the assailant – now confirmed as Salman Abedi - also emerged in U.S. media less than 24 hours after the attack against the U.K.'s wishes.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd described the leaks as "irritating" and insisted that they "should not happen again."

A Whitehall source added: "We are furious. This is completely unacceptable," according to the BBC.

May and Trump to meet

May confirmed Thursday afternoon that she would probe U.S. President Donald Trump on the leaks when the two meet later in the day for scheduled talks between EU and NATO leaders.

"I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure," May said after a meeting of top U.K. officials about the attack, hours before she is due to meet the president in Brussels.

Russia always on our agenda: NATO Secretary General

However, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization told CNBC in Brussels that discussions in relation to on-going U.K.-U.S. information sharing would be discussed bilaterally, and not during wider discussions.

"The issue related to the Manchester attack is a bilateral issue between the U.K. and U.S. It's not for me to comment on that," said Stoltenberg.

On-going investigations

British police have so far arrested eight men and one woman in relation to the attack in relation to the attack which killed 22 people and injured scores more during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on Monday.

The arrests include the attacker's older brother, Ismail Abedi.

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said Wednesday afternoon that the arrests indicate that there was a "network" behind the attack.

Investigators have also indicated that the assailant had visited Germany days before the attack.

-Additional reporting from CNBC's Silvia Amaro and Hadley Gamble.

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