Civil servant arrested by counter-terrorism officers over US files leak

Counter-terrorism officers have arrested a civil servant over leaked diplomatic cables which led UK’s ambassador to Washington to resign.

They arrested a man who worked for the Department for International Trade (DIT) for allegedly breaching the Official Secrets Act, The Mail on Sunday reported.

Former ambassador Lord Darroch was forced to stand down last year after messages he wrote criticising the Trump White House as ‘inept’ and ‘dysfunctional’ were leaked to the press.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said officers from the force’s Counter Terrorism Command arrested a man in London on Tuesday ‘on suspicion of offences under the Official Secrets Act and misconduct in a public office’.

‘The man was taken to a London police station and was subsequently released on police bail to a date in mid-November. Inquiries continue,’ the spokesman said in a statement.

The Mail on Sunday reported the civil servant was suspended on full pay amid an internal inquiry. 

Lord Darroch, then Sir Kim, resigned from his post in Washington last July, saying his position had become ‘impossible’ following the leak which prompted the US president to brand him ‘a very stupid guy’ with whom the White House could not work.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a Tory leadership candidate at the time, faced stiff criticism for failing to fully support the diplomat.

Following the incident, MPs said a ‘corrosive culture of leaking’ at the heart of Whitehall should be tackled with a robust approach and tougher sanctions.

The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee suggested a review of Foreign Office classification measures for sensitive messages and suggested that leakers could face being stripped of their pensions and be made to pay for the cost of investigations.

The DIT said it would not be commenting on the arrest.

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