UK counter-terrorism police slams US leaks of Manchester bomb pics

UK police have accused US media of undermining the investigation into Monday’s terrorist attack in Manchester after unauthorized images were published of some of the bomb materials used in the attack.

Police issued a statement hours after the New York Times published a piece titled ‘Found at the Scene in Manchester: Shrapnel, a Backpack and a Battery’, containing images allegedly from the scene of the attack, including shrapnel, the alleged backpack used and a detonator.

“When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families,” the National Police Chief’s Council said in a statement.

“This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter terrorism investigation,” said the statement.

The New York Times credited the images as “preliminary information gathered by British authorities” with no further details on how they were obtained. Several UK news outlets – including the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, ITV and Sky News – republished the images citing the New York Times as the only source.

At the time of publication, the images were examined by RT who deduced it had not been made public by UK officials and thus refrained from publishing it.

It is not clear if the New York Times obtained the leaked pictures from a UK or a US source.

Hours after the attack on Monday, NBC reported the death toll, citing US officials briefed by US authorities, as their source. Their report, which proved to be correct, was published hours before UK officials announced the official death toll.

A former unnamed British intelligence chief told Newsweek that US sources were unreliable with sensitive information, claiming they “just blabbermouth it and it’s really, really unhelpful.”