Key member of 'Five Eyes' alliance questions trust in wake of intel leaks
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Officials in Manchester said they are no longer sharing information about their investigation into Monday’s bombing with the United States, a longtime intelligence ally, because of leaked information to the media.
The United States and the United Kingdom, members of the “Five Eyes” alliance, have shared intelligence for more than half a century.
The “Five Eyes” alliance is an agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to share intelligence with one another and better counter global threats.
In the wake of the suicide bombing in Manchester earlier this week, several leaks to U.S. media outlets have occurred. Those leaks include the disclosure of the suspected bombers name and crime scene images that were published by The New York Times. The leak deeply upset British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Times defended their report calling it "both comprehensive and responsible."
"The images and information presented were neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims, and consistent with the common line of reporting on weapons used in horrific crimes," The New York Times stated.
May said the on going partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom is built on trust.
"Part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently," May remarked.
The Prime Minister plans on confronting security intelligence concerns with President Trump during the NATO meeting in Brussels. It’s possible that more members of the “Five Eyes” could follow the Unites Kingdom’s lead.
The formation of the “Five Eyes” partnership dates to World War II.
“The U.S. Army and Navy each developed independent foreign SIGINT [Signal Intelligence] relationships with the British and the Dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand,” according to the National Security Agency. “The bonds, forged in the heat of a world war and tempered by decades of trust and teamwork, remain essential to future intelligence successes.”
The NSA classifies SIGINT as “intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets, such as communications systems, radars, and weapons systems.”
After the war, the United States and United Kingdom created the BRUSA Agreement, now called UKUSA. The agreement made public by both nations in 2010, served as a foundation for intelligence sharing between nations during the Cold War.
“The top secret, post-war arrangement for sharing intelligence between the United States and the UK. Signed by representatives of the London Signals Intelligence Board and its American counterpart in March 1946,” the National Archives stated.
Appendices in the agreement also specify intelligence sharing with “second parties,” such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
During an appearance at Stanford University in November 2014, National Security Agency Director, Admiral Michael Rogers said that while the alliance exists for nations to share intelligence, members will not comprise themselves for the sake of the relationship.
“I'm comfortable what we do with our Five Eyes. And I always remind them, hey look, neither one of us – any of us in this arrangement, guys, we're not going to compromise ourselves in the name of a relationship, we're just not doing that. And there's specific restrictions on what we can and can't do and I always tell them, look, I expect us to abide by that,” Rogers said.
During that same event Rogers also stated that leaks directly impact intelligence missions.
“I'm watching that every day right now as a result of the media leaks over the last 15 months and I'm watching the impact it has on mission and our ability to meet those security requirements for the nation,” the director added.
British authorities are asking for a guarantee that leaks to the media about the investigation into the suicide bombing in Manchester will stop.
President Trump said he has asked the U.S. Department of Justice and other government agencies to “launch a complete review of this matter.”