Police warning to media over diplomat's leaked memos stirs anger

UK police investigate Kim Darroch cables - CNN

The leak led to the resignation of British Ambassador Kim Darroch after President Donald Trump said his administration would no longer work with Darroch, who had criticized Trump in the leaked cables.

Counterterrorism police chief Neil Basu said today that the leak had damaged United Kingdom global relations and there was "a clear public interest" in prosecuting the perpetrator or perpetrators.

"I would say to the person or people who did this, the impact of what you have done is obvious".

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, according to Basu said.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has suggested that he was too quick to denounce Sir Kim following the leak of his diplomatic dispatches in which he described the White House administration as "inept" and "dysfunctional".

"However, you for the time being are additionally liable for diverting busy detectives from endeavor their core mission".

Basu also urged the leakers of the already published documents to "turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences". "We have a duty to prevent as well as detect crime, and the previous statement was meant to alert to the risk of breaching the OSA", he said.

Memos from Darroch describing the Trump administration as inept were leaked to a British newspaper, infuriating the US president, who launched a Twitter attack on both the envoy and outgoing prime minister Theresa May, who had given Darroch her full support. Darroch resigned on Wednesday.

A diplomatic source told Reuters that the lack of support from Johnson during a televised debate with his rival for the premiership, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, had also been a factor.

The Conservative leadership contender admitted he should have been more supportive of Sir Kim Darroch, and acknowledged that his refusal to explicitly back the ambassador had been a factor in his decision to step down.

Mr Johnson said he had spoken to Sir Kim on Thursday to tell his disappointment over his resignation and the ambassador instructed him he had not watched the TV debate.

"If I were the Metropolitan police commissioner, and I wanted to maintain my credibility and the credibility of my force, I would quickly distance myself from this very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn't appear to understand much about press freedom", the former chancellor tweeted.

Asked in Friday's interview if he would be "as craven" a prime minister as he has been a candidate, Johnson said: "We have been very forthright with the United States of America and I will continue to be forthright".

The new prime minister will be named on July 23 and take office the following day.

"It can not be conceivably right that newspapers or any other media organization publishing such material should face prosecution", Johnson, the frontrunner, said.

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