May at­tacks Trump’s claim that UK po­lice had bomber in sights

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Ja­son Groves

THE Bri­tish prime min­is­ter rounded on Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day af­ter he claimed the Par­sons Green bomber had been un­der sur­veil­lance by Bri­tain’s se­cu­rity ser­vices.

In an ex­traor­di­nary breach of diplo­matic pro­to­col, the US pres­i­dent took to so­cial me­dia within hours of the Un­der­ground at­tack to claim the sus­pect was ‘in the sights of Scot­land Yard’.

‘Another at­tack in London by a loser ter­ror­ist,’ he wrote on Twit­ter. ‘These are sick and de­mented peo­ple who were in the sights of Scot­land Yard. Must be proac­tive!’

His com­ments drew a swift re­buke from Theresa May, who said: ‘I never think it’s help­ful for any­body to spec­u­late on what is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.’ She later chal­lenged the pres­i­dent in per­son when he called her to dis­cuss the case.

A Scot­land Yard spokesman also crit­i­cised Mr Trump, say­ing: ‘The com­ments are un­help­ful and pure spec­u­la­tion. If any­one has got any ev­i­dence or in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact the anti-ter­ror­ism hot­line.’

Mr Trump ap­peared un­con­cerned about his diplo­matic slip. Asked about the ter­ror at­tack by re­porters out­side the White House, he said: ‘It’s a ter­ri­ble thing. It just keeps go­ing and go­ing, and we have to be very smart, we have to be very, very tough. Per­haps we are not nearly tough enough. It’s just an ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble thing. In fact, I’m go­ing to call the prime min­is­ter right now. We have to be tougher and we have to be smarter.’ He told re­porters that he had been briefed on the ex­plo­sion, but did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

His na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser HR McMaster sug­gested later that Mr Trump was speak­ing gen­er­ally. Not­ing that law en­force­ment agen­cies have been work­ing to com­bat ter­ror­ism for years, Mr McMaster said: ‘I think if there was a ter­ror­ist at­tack here, God for­bid, that we would say that they were in the sights of the FBI.’

He added: ‘I think he means gen­er­ally that this kind of ac­tiv­ity is what we are try­ing to pre­vent.’ The con­tro­versy threat­ened to re­open the row be­tween the UK and the US over the leak­ing of sen­si­tive po­lice in­for­ma­tion that led to the tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion of se­cu­rity co-op­er­a­tion in the wake of the Manch­ester bomb­ing.

Labour MP Stephen Doughty, a mem­ber of the home af­fairs se­lect com­mit­tee, said last night Mr Trump’s in­ter­ven­tion ‘has the po­ten­tial to not only un­der­mine a vi­tal re­la­tion­ship, but also to prej­u­dice in­ves­ti­ga­tions into this and other in­ci­dents’.

Lib­eral Demo­crat home af­fairs spokesman Ed Davey said: ‘It is in­sult­ing to the vic­tims of this at­tack that Don­ald Trump is al­ready us­ing it to try and fur­ther his di­vi­sive po­lit­i­cal agenda. Once again, Trump has shown he is not fit for the of­fice of US Pres­i­dent.’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who clashed with Mr Trump over his re­sponse to the London Bridge ter­ror at­tack, would not be drawn on the pres­i­dent’s com­ments. ‘I’ve sim­ply been too busy to look at my Twit­ter,’ he said,. ‘My pri­or­ity is mak­ing sure that we do what we can to keep Lon­don­ers safe.’

A London City Hall source said: ‘He hopes peo­ple don’t spec­u­late on things be­fore we know the full facts. It’s clear what he thinks about that.’ In May, Bri­tish po­lice tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended in­tel­li­gence shar­ing af­ter a se­ries of dam­ag­ing US leaks about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Manch­ester bomb­ing. Im­ages of the rem­nants of ter­ror­ist Salman Abedi’s back­pack and a di­a­gram show­ing where his vic­tims died were handed to a US news­pa­per.

The Bri­tish prime min­is­ter tack­led Mr Trump over the is­sue at a Nato sum­mit in Brus­sels, telling re­porters later that the ties be­tween Bri­tain and the US were the ‘deep­est de­fence and se­cu­rity part­ner­ship we have’, but warned it was ‘built on trust’.

She added: ‘Part of that trust is know­ing that in­tel­li­gence can be shared con­fi­dently and I will be mak­ing clear to Pres­i­dent Trump that in­tel­li­gence that is shared be­tween law en­force­ment agen­cies must re­main se­cure.’

Row: Pres­i­dent Trump yes­ter­day. In­set, Theresa May

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