Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

UK Police Launch Probe into Leak of Ambassador's Secret Cables

UK Police Launch Probe into Leak of Ambassador's Secret Cables

However former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the leak was a clear breach of the Official Secrets Act and that the Government and the police were entitled to try to prevent further disclosures.

Donald Trump has said he wishes Britain's ambassador Sir Kim Darroch well following his resignation over his leaked diplomatic cables.

The British government had opened its own inquiry into the leaks this week and noted it had involved the police to ascertain whether any documents protected by the Official Secrets Act had been shared.

"The investigation will be reviewed at every stage to ensure a proportionate investigation is undertaken".

He asked the person behind the leaks to turn themselves in and avoid wasting detectives' time, saying: "You can stop this now".

"I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to United Kingdom global relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice", Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in a statement announcing the move. "Turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences", he said.

He added: "I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government".

The US President reacted by lashing out in a series of tweets, calling Darroch a "wacky Ambassador" and "very stupid guy".

In the Commons on Thursday, Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan said an internal Whitehall inquiry had found no evidence the leak was the result of computer hacking.

"I can not think of a worse example of a heavy-handed approach by the police to attempt to curtail the role of the media as a defence against the powerful and those in authority", said Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society of Editors.

However, the Tory leadership frontrunner denied failing to give Sir Kim his backing and said his words during a televised leadership debate had been "misrepresented".

"I wish the British ambassador well", Trump told reporters on Friday as he left the White House to head to Wisconsin.

Some senior Conservative figures criticised Mr Johnson over his perceived failure to defend Sir Kim. "Some people just told me - too bad - they said he actually said some very good things about me", he said.

"But they've got to stop their leaking problems there, just like they have to stop them in our country".

He told the BBC that he had spoken on the phone to Sir Kim and the former ambassador told him he had not watched the debate himself, but somebody had told him about the comments.

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