Police in the UK have opened a criminal investigation into the leaked diplomatic cables that led to the resignation of Kim Darroch, the country’s ambassador to the United States.
There is a “clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice,” Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said on Friday.
“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,” Basu’s statement read.
Basu – who also heads counter terrorism policing at the Metropolitan Police, the specialist branch of the service that deals with intelligence – also urged anyone with knowledge relating to the leak to come forward.
Diplomatic communications leaked to the Daily Mail newspaper last Sunday revealed the UK’s envoy in Washington criticizing the Trump Administration and describing the Donald Trump as “inept” and “incompetent.”
The US President reacted by lashing out in a series of tweets, calling Darroch a “wacky Ambassador” and “very stupid guy.” Trump also said that the US would “no longer deal with him.”
Darroch stepped down from his role on Wednesday. In a letter to Simon McDonald, the permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he said it was “impossible” for him to continue as ambassador.
Nearly a week after the cables were leaked, Basu’s announcement of the investigation ended with a pointed call to the media. He asked “owners, editors and publishers” to refrain from releasing any further information relating to the disclosures.
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.”
CNN’s Nic Robertson also contributed to this report.