Scotland Yard launch probe into leak of ambassador’s diplomatic cables

Scotland Yard launch probe into leak of ambassador’s diplomatic cables

Scotland Yard has launched a criminal investigation into the leak of diplomatic dispatches sent by Britain’s US ambassador Kim Darroch.

The inquiry will be carried out by the Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command which is responsible for investigating breaches of the Official Secrets Act.

Assistant commissioner Neil Basu said: “Given the widely reported consequences of that leak I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to UK international relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the Met counter terrorism command will investigate the leak (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the Met counter terrorism command will investigate the leak (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

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

Mr Basu also issued a warning to the media that any further publication of the ambassador’s cables could be a criminal offence.

Mr Darroch 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”.

His comments drew a furious response from the president who denounced him as a “very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool” and said the the White House would no longer deal with him.

Kim Darroch said his position had been made ‘impossible’ by the leak (Niall Carson/PA)
Kim Darroch said his position had been made ‘impossible’ by the leak (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Basu said the Met had been brought in following a cross-government investigation led by the Cabinet Office into the leak of the cables to The Mail on Sunday.

In a statement, he urged whoever was responsible to turn themselves in and face the consequences of their actions.

“I would say to the person or people who did this, the impact of what you have done is obvious. However, you are now also responsible for diverting busy detectives from undertaking their core mission.

“You can stop this now. Turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences.”

In an unusual move, Mr Basu also warned owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents, and to return any in their possession to their rightful owners.

“The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause may also be a criminal matter,” he said.

Donald Trump said he wishes Kim Darroch well (Andrew Harnik/AP/PA)
Donald Trump said he wishes Kim Darroch well (Andrew Harnik/AP/PA)

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

Instead he told MPs the focus was on finding “someone within the system who has released illicitly these communications”.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has suggested he was too quick to denounce Mr Darroch following the leak.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr Trump said he had since been told Sir Kim had said “some very good things” about him.

“I wish the British ambassador well. Some people just told me – too bad – they said he actually said some very good things about me,” he said.

“I wish the British ambassador well but they have got to stop their leaking problems there just like they have to stop them in our country.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

UK agrees to further talks over disposal of old Shell oil rigsUK agrees to further talks over disposal of old Shell oil rigs

Youth just seconds from death in lethal rail prank in WalesYouth just seconds from death in lethal rail prank in Wales

'I am off to the dentist': Paul Gascoigne ‘looking forward to getting on with life’ after jury clears him'I am off to the dentist': Paul Gascoigne ‘looking forward to getting on with life’ after jury clears him

Armed police drive pregnant woman to hospital in time to give birthArmed police drive pregnant woman to hospital in time to give birth

More in this Section

Youth just seconds from death in lethal rail prank in WalesYouth just seconds from death in lethal rail prank in Wales

Judge rejects legal challenge calling for Brexit deal to be ruled unlawfulJudge rejects legal challenge calling for Brexit deal to be ruled unlawful

Lebanese PM offers 72-hour ultimatum amid nationwide protestsLebanese PM offers 72-hour ultimatum amid nationwide protests

Extinction Rebellion climate protester scales Big Ben scaffoldingExtinction Rebellion climate protester scales Big Ben scaffolding


Lifestyle

Mountaintop monasteries, vicious-looking vultures, and a seriously impressive cable car.As Ryanair launches flights to Armenia, here’s why it deserves to be your next holiday destination

Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra played a storming gig at Cork Opera House, writes Des O'Driscoll Live Music Review: Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra

Concerns about people’s ability to access their own money have been growing – here’s what the debate is all about.Are we actually going to end up as a cashless society?

Everything entertainment you need to look out forScene & Heard: Everything entertainment you need to look out for

More From The Irish Examiner