May re­bukes Trump over tweet about ter­ror sus­pect

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS | TERROR ON THE TUBE - BY PA RE­PORTERS

THERESA May has raised con­cerns with Don­ald Trump over his claim the per­pe­tra­tors of the Par­sons Green Tube bomb­ing had been “in the sights” of Scot­land Yard.

Af­ter chair­ing a meet­ing of the Gov­ern­ment’s Co­bra emer­gen­cies com­mit­tee, the Prime Min­is­ter pub­licly re­buked the US pres­i­dent, say­ing it was not “help­ful” to spec­u­late on an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mrs May is un­der­stood to have raised the is­sue dur­ing a “cor­dial” tele­phone call.

The pres­i­dent’s in­ter­ven­tion threat­ened to place fresh strain on the US-UK in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing re­la­tion­ship, which has come un­der pres­sure a num­ber of times since he en­tered the White House.

In a trade­mark tweet is­sued within hours of the blast, Mr Trump wrote: “Another at­tack in London by a loser ter­ror­ist. These are sick and de­mented peo­ple who were in the sights of Scot­land Yard. Must be proac­tive!”

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice said the US pres­i­dent’s com­ments — which did not cor­re­spond with any in­for­ma­tion re­leased by the UK au­thor­i­ties — were “un­help­ful” and “pure spec­u­la­tion”.

In Down­ing Street, Mrs May (above) said: “I never think it’s help­ful for any­body to spec­u­late on what is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices are work­ing to dis­cover the full cir­cum­stances of this cow­ardly at­tack and to iden­tify all those re­spon­si­ble.”

Asked later whether he had been briefed on any in­tel­li­gence about the at­tack, Mr Trump ap­peared to side­step the is­sue, say­ing that he had been briefed “on numer­ous things”, in­clud­ing North Korea.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Down­ing Street said Mr Trump (be­low) had of­fered his con­do­lences over the at­tack dur­ing a tele­phone call.

A spokesman said: “Pres­i­dent Trump called the Prime Min­is­ter ear­lier to­day to of­fer his con­do­lences over this morn­ing’s cow­ardly at­tack in London. They also dis­cussed North Korea’s lat­est mis­sile test, agree­ing it was a reck­less provo­ca­tion and that China must now use all its lever­age to bring pres­sure to bear on the North Korean regime to en­sure they change course and end these il­le­gal tests.”

The lat­est spat comes af­ter Bri­tish po­lice tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing with the US in the wake of the Manch­ester Arena bomb­ing in May fol­low­ing a se­ries of leaks to Amer­i­can me­dia. CBS dis­closed the name of the bomber, Sal­man Abedi, cit­ing US sources, at a time when the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties were ask­ing the me­dia to with­hold the in­for­ma­tion to pro­tect the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The New York Times then pub­lished de­tailed pho­to­graphs taken from the bomb scene which had been taken by Bri­tish in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

The “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” had al­ready come un­der strain ear­lier in the year, when the then White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer re­peated claims that GCHQ, the UK sur­veil­lance agency, had been in­volved in bug­ging the Trump cam­paign on be­half of Barack Obama.

His com­ments drew a rare public state­ment from GCHQ de­nounc­ing the al­le­ga­tion as “ut­terly ridicu­lous”.

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