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Donald Trump sparks anger in UK over tweets on London attack

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-09-2017 Thomas Penny

London: Donald Trump is raising hackles in London again.

Tweets from the US president following a terrorist attack on Friday prompted an immediate backlash. Among his critics was Nick Timothy, until recently one of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s most senior aides.

Trump was accused of betraying intelligence details by saying those responsible for an explosion on an underground train “are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

“True or not—and I’m sure he doesn’t know—this is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner,” tweeted Timothy, who was May’s chief of staff until the June general election and worked for her as a senior adviser when she was home secretary.

May, when asked directly about Trump’s tweets, responded in a broadcast interview: “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate about what is an ongoing investigation.”

Former Conservative lawmaker Ben Howlett echoed the comments. “It is highly unhelpful/dangerous and inappropriate for an ally to make announcements that share intelligence and undermine investigations,” he said on Twitter.

Others pointed out that any other members of a potential terror cell may have been alerted that they had been under surveillance if the president was basing his comments on a confidential security briefing.

There were further fears over leaks of Friday’s probe when CBS This Morning—a major US Broadcaster—tweeted a photo of the improvised device, saying “A source close to investigation says the bucket contained explosive materials consistent with other recent terrorist incident.”

There was talk earlier this year of suspending transatlantic security briefings after details of the investigation into the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, northern England, which killed 22 people, were leaked to the media by US authorities.

Trump also sparked anger after van and knife attacks on London Bridge when he used Twitter to criticize Mayor Sadiq Khan’s response just days before the June general election. May’s reluctance to stand up to him over those tweets led to criticism of her during the campaign. Bloomberg

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