U.S. President Trump vowed on Thursday to bring anyone caught leaking American intelligence to justice after British police stopped sharing information about the Manchester suicide bombing with the United States.
In a statement released after Trump arrived at the NATO military alliance, the U.S. president said he would seek an official review to stop leaks that he said posed a serious security threat.
"The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling," Trump said in the statement. "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 the relationship between the U.S. and Britain was the most cherished of all American ties and that "leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security."
British Prime Minister Theresa May raised the issue of the leaks with Trump while they were waiting for a group photograph to be taken at a NATO summit in Brussels. Television pictures showed May and Trump talking while sitting side-by-side at the event.
"She expressed the view that the intelligence sharing relationship we have with the U.S. is hugely important and valuable, but that the information that we share should be kept secure," the source said.
The source also said that Britain was prepared to increase non-combat troop deployment to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
In his address to NATO leaders, Trump had lectured member countries on the need to pay more for defense, insisting that many members are not paying “their fair share” and many “still need to pay more from past years.”
The BBC reported earlier on Thursday that British police stopped sharing information about the suicide bombing in Manchester with U.S. authorities after leaks of details of the investigation angered the government.
British Interior Minister Amber Rudd had described the leaks as "irritating" early on Thursday, after details about bomber Salman Abedi, including his name, first appeared in U.S. media, adding that Britain's allies were perfectly clear that it "shouldn't happen again."
But on Thursday the leaks continued, culminating in a New York Times article which included detailed forensic pictures of the crime scene outside the Manchester Arena, including the remains of the bag that Abedi used.
British police chiefs on Thursday condemned the release of potential evidence while inquiries were ongoing, and said that the leaks represented breaches of trust which undermined their investigation.
AP contributed to this report.
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