Intelligence leaks must stop

Irresponsible government officials can seriously endanger the nation

Keeping secrets can be just as important as uncovering them for intelligence agencies. An enemy’s knowledge of what one knows can be dangerous.

Consequently, the anger of British officials about leaks regarding their investigation of the Manchester concert hall bombing is understandable. Americans ought to be just as concerned.

Press reports in our country have revealed, step by step, what British authorities are doing in tracking down accomplices of the suicide bomber who killed 22 people in Manchester. That has infuriated British officials, who obviously do not want the terrorists to have any more information than absolutely necessary.

We in the press have an obligation to withhold some information in criminal investigations, of course. Our job is to report the news — not make it by tipping terrorists off that police are hot on their heels.

But — and this is a very big “but” — reporters often assume that if information was sensitive, U.S. intelligence officials would not be giving it to the press.

Apparently that has not been the case. British officials say they are angry about information leaked to the media by U.S. intelligence sources.

So bad was the situation that British officials briefly stopped sharing information about the probe with U.S. officials until they were assured of confidentiality.

Irresponsible leaks of intelligence information have to stop.