UK Counter-Terror Police Probe Leak of Ambassador's Cables

Metropolitan Police Assistant Comissioner Neil Basu

The investigation was launched by the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, which takes national responsibility for investigating allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act.

Britain's police on Friday said they had opened an investigation into a leak of confidential memos that led to the resignation of the British ambassador to Washington.

Sir Kim announced on Wednesday he was resigning, saying his position had become "impossible" following the leak of his dispatches in which he described Donald Trump's White House as "inept" and "dysfunctional". You can stop this now.

He said, "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". "Turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences".

The leaked memos caused an worldwide row, with the USA president responding to the revelation of Sir Kim's memos by branding the diplomat "wacky" and "a very stupid guy", as well as vowing to "no longer deal with him".

In an interview on Friday, Johnson denied he was responsible for Darroch's resignation, but admitted his comments had been a factor.

Almost a week after the cables were leaked, Basu's announcement of the investigation ended with a pointed call to the media.

Sir Alan Duncan, a Foreign Office minister, said there was no evidence to suggest that Darroch's diplomatic cables had been hacked, so the focus was on finding the leaker within the department.

However Mr Johnson has sought to distance himself from speculation that his comments caused Sir Kim to quit, saying "I think that unfortunately what I said on that TV debate was misrepresented to Kim".

"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.

Some senior Conservative figures criticised Mr Johnson over his perceived failure to defend Sir Kim.

Mr Johnson refused to confirm Sir Kim would remain United States ambassador during an ITV debate with leadership rival Jeremy Hunt. "Some people just told me - too bad - they said he actually said some very good things about me", he said.

While there will be relief in Whitehall the row over the cables appears to have had no lasting impact on relations with the administration, it is likely to be tempered by concern that Sir Kim's resignation may have been unnecessary after all.

He warned, however, that the British needed to stop their "leaking problems" following the transatlantic war of words in recent days.

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