On Monday night, when substantive details about the Manchester suicide bombing started making their way to journalists, there was something that appeared a bit out of place: The details came from American officials. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News reported that U.K. intelligence officials are none too happy about this.
“It happens sometimes when a larger partner like America assists on an investigation like this one,” said one Belgium counterterrorism official. “You know you are trading the additional resources they bring for a chance of increased leaks.” The official figured that “the Brits are livid — I know we would be” because the suspect was identified before they could announce it.
Even some American officials felt this way, with a few calling it “unprofessional.” One noted that since the U.K. would not leak details of an American investigation, “the least we can do is give them that same respect.” Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, added that there’s no real point to releasing the information, as well.
“Why get in the way of what they are trying to do?” Joscelyn told BuzzFeed. “Follow their lead unless there is some good reason not to. The UK made a conscious decision to not release the suspect’s name. They have a good reason for doing that and US officials should probably wait for the UK to come out with specific details.”