Naming of Salman Abedi by ‘US officials’ hours before it was announced by UK authorities is latest in series of leaks that may damage America's credibility with allies.
US officials have been criticized for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber before British police officially named him.
Salman Abedi was identified in media reports that attributed “US officials” as the source even as their British counterparts remained tight-lipped.
The disclosures renewed concerns over leaks from Donald Trump’s administration two weeks after the US president revealed classified information, apparently from Israel, to Russia’s foreign minister in a White House meeting. Critics warn that US allies may be less willing to share intelligence in the future.
Although UK journalists had Abedi’s name, the UK government and Greater Manchester police declined to confirm it more than two hours after it appeared in the US press. Earlier in the day, the government indicated it might not release the name at all on Tuesday because the investigation was continuing.
On Monday night, a correspondent for America’s ABC network tweeted: “Leading theory is Manchester was a suicide bomber, US senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation tells @ABC.”
On Tuesday, CBS and NBC were quick to name the suspect believed to have blown himself up following an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. The Reuters news agency, an international organization with headquarters in London, also published the name, citing “three US officials”, before British police made it public.
The Trump administration’s apparent indiscretion seems likely to cause consternation in London and could raise questions about future cooperation in the long term.
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