Tuesday 16 July 2019

Police open investigation into leak of memos from ambassador

Kim Darroch. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Kim Darroch. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Andrew MacAskill

British police said yesterday they had opened an investigation into a leak of confidential memos that led to the resignation of the British ambassador to Washington.

Kim Darroch quit after Donald Trump called him "stupid" and "wacky" following the publication of the confidential memos by a newspaper. In them, Mr Darroch called Mr Trump's administration inept.

London's Metropolitan Police said its counter-terrorism command, which takes national responsibility for investigating allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act, was leading the investigation.

"Given the widely reported consequences of that leak I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to UK international relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice," Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said, urging the person or people who leaked the memos to turn themselves in.

The leaked memos have cast a shadow over ties between Britain and the United States and taken centre stage in the contest to be the next British prime minister.

Frontrunner Boris Johnson has been heavily criticised by members of his own party and the opposition for failing to defend the ambassador.

The memos said rumours of "infighting and chaos" in the White House were mostly true.

The head of Britain's diplomatic service, Simon McDonald, said this week he was "bracing" himself for further leaks, which he described as "the worst breach of trust in our service in my career".

"I fear there may be more," he said. "People are shaken by what has happened. The basis on which we have worked all our careers suddenly feels as if it is challenged."

Irish Independent

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