Intelligence leaks
Intelligence leaks iStock

British security officials are considering withholding intelligence from their US counterparts after details of the Manchester suicide bomber were leaked to American media, according to International Business Times.

Prime Minister Theresa May will raise British concerns over the leaks with President Donald Trump as the BBC reported that police investigating the bombing have stopped sharing information with the U.S.

British police said late Wednesday that leaks to American media amounted a breach of trust and undermined their investigation into the attack that killed 22 people at a concert, stepping up earlier criticism from Home Secretary Amber Rudd, according to Bloomberg. Rudd stated she had made it "very clear" to the Americans that intelligence must not be revealed.

Manchester police hope to resume intelligence sharing soon, but are furious with a story in the New York Times that included photos of the crime scene, the BBC reported, without naming a source. The NYT did not publish where it got its information.

Officers investigating Monday's (22 May) terror attack had intended on keeping Salman Abedi's identity secret, but US intelligence officers disclosed the detail and made it public.

Following the row, British security sources confirmed to the Financial Times that ceasing to share information was a real consideration and that they were "astonished" at the actions of the Americans.

One source told the newspaper that American actions were putting British lives at risk.

In a statement, the National Police Chiefs' Council also criticised the actions of US intelligence officials.

"We greatly value the important relationships we have with our trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world," a spokesman said.

"These relationships enable us to collaborate and share privileged and sensitive information that allows us to defeat terrorism and protect the public at home and abroad.

"When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families.

"This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter terrorism investigation."

The dispute -- which has featured unusually blunt language from U.K. politicians -- could have wider implications for intelligence sharing between the close allies. It comes after the Washington Post reported last week that Trump had shared with Russia sensitive information that the president hinted on Monday could have come from Israel.

With the U.K. investigation into the bombing continuing, May will cut short her trip to a Group of Seven meeting in Sicily, returning Friday night after the first day of the two-day summit to deal with the terror threat, according to Bloomberg.

The paper says Manchester police are hunting down a network they think orchestrated the bombing, and the suspected perpetrator’s father and brother were arrested in Tripoli. Eight people are being held in the U.K. in connection with the attack. As the investigation continues, British troops have been deployed in the central government district in Westminster. The deployment, designed to free up police officers to pursue the attackers, is the largest on the British mainland in decades.