UK police urge publishers not to use leaked diplomatic memos

UK police investigate Kim Darroch cables - CNN

UK police investigate Kim Darroch cables - CNN

The Metropolitan police has rowed back from its warning that journalists could face prosecution if they publish any further leaked diplomatic cables such as those that ran in the Mail on Sunday last weekend, precipitating the resignation of the British ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch. It would also allow in global inspectors in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Britain's ambassador to Washington believed US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal because it was associated with his predecessor Barack Obama, leaked documents showed Saturday.

"I think the Government and the police are fully entitled to find out who was involved in that and if they can to prevent it happening again".

In a cable sent afterwards, Darroch reportedly indicated there were divisions in Trump's team over the decision, and criticised the White House for a lack of long-term strategy.

Kim Darroch quit on Wednesday after Donald Trump called him "stupid" and "wacky" following the publication of the confidential memos by a newspaper.

The Trump presidency could "crash and burn" and that "we could be at the beginning of a downward spiral. that leads to disgrace and downfall".

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

The government launched an internal Whitehall inquiry into the publication following the reports.

President Trump branded Sir Kim "a very stupid guy" and Sir Kim stepped down on Wednesday, saying it was "impossible" for him to continue.

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

"Given the widely reported consequences of that leak I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to United Kingdom worldwide relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice".

His rival, Mr Johnson, said it was correct the person responsible for the leak was "hunted down and prosecuted" but it was wrong for police to target the media.

Sir Michael also backed a call by the Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu for any news organisations holding leaked government documents to return them.

Basu said journalists and publishers could be in breach of the law if they published further details from the memos.

Earlier this week, Trump said the USA will "substantially" increase sanctions on the Iranian government in the latest escalation in his administration's "maximum pressure campaign" against the country.

He added: "What could be more in the public interest than a better understanding of how this position was reached, which may have serious consequences for world peace?"

He added that it was "not news" that the United Kingdom and USA differ in their approach to preventing Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

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