British and EU Spies Criticize American ‘Blabbermouths’ After Manchester Leaks

Former British and Belgian intelligence chiefs have declared American officials to be “blabbermouths” after much of the key information leaked to the media following the bombing of a British concert venue on Monday night emerged from Washington.

Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British national of Libyan heritage, detonated an explosive device after an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena around 10.33 p.m., killing 22 people and injuring dozens. The information that followed initial media reports of the blast traced back to American sources.

NBC News, in the hours following the blast, reported an initial death toll of 20 people, citing U.S. officials briefed by British authorities, who did not publicly disclose the estimates. Other publications followed suit in citing American officials, who also appeared to be receiving their information from the British. They reported the method of attack to be a suicide bombing. On Tuesday, NBC News and CBS News carried the identity of the attacker before British authorities had released official confirmation. Media reports citing the name and death toll later proved to be true.

With the British government and its officials remaining tight-lipped for hours after U.S. media reports surfaced, as the investigation into the bomb blast continued, a question arose: Were the U.S. publications just quicker, smarter and more well-sourced than the British press? In the eyes of British and Belgian intelligence sources, the answer was no: It was rather the openness of the American security services that led to Britain’s Fleet Street elite being scooped by their colleagues across the Atlantic.

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