Trump labels intelligence leaks "deeply troubling"

He said the culprit should be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law"

Trump labels intelligence leaks "deeply troubling"

US President Donald Trump arrives at the NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels, 25-05-2017. Image: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

US President Donald Trump has said intelligence leaks from the US administration relating to the Manchester attack are “deeply troubling.”

Speaking at his first NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump condemned the deadly suicide bombing that took the lives of 22 people as “barbaric and vicious.”

He again branded extremists as "losers" who had to be driven out of society and vowed to never waiver in fighting terrorism.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to raise the leaks with the president this afternoon after senior British Government ministers described the leaks as "irritating" and "disappointing."

Leaked intelligence

Photos, apparently showing bloodstained fragments of the bomb, appeared in The New York Times yesterday.

The BBC reports that, as a result of the leak, police investigating the bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the US.

A British government source said: "We are furious. This is completely unacceptable.

"These images leaked from inside the US system will be distressing for victims, their families and the wider public.

"The issue is being raised at every relevant level by the British authorities with their US counterparts."

Special relationship

Shortly after arriving at NATO headquarters in Brussels this afternoon President Trump released a statement condemning the leaks.

"The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling," he said in the statement.

"These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this.

"The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security. 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."

"There is no relationship we cherish more than the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom."

Mrs May has warned that this “special relationship” could be harmed by any further intelligence leaks – adding that she would be "making clear" to Mr Trump that details shared between security agencies "must be shared securely."

Speaking to reporters as she arrived at the summit, she said intelligence sharing with the US forms the basis of the two country’s “deepest defence and security partnership.”

"Of course that partnership is built on trust and part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently, and I will be making clear to President Trump today that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure," she said.

International tour

The issue has overshadowed the fourth stop on the president’s first overseas trip since taking office.

Earlier he met with European Council President Donald Tusk, who said that while there was agreement on certain issues including counter-terrorism, others - including climate change and trade - “remain open.”

In recent days he has visited Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem and Rome where he had an audience with the Pope.