Diplomatic leak inquiry has found no evidence of hacking, says minister

The Canary

The inquiry into the leak of diplomatic cables criticising Donald Trump’s White House is focusing on whether “someone within the system” was responsible, a Foreign Office minister has said.

Sir Alan Duncan said there was no evidence the dispatches from Sir Kim Darroch – Britain’s ambassador to the US – had been obtained through computer hacking.

Instead, he said the investigation was looking at the possibility they had been “illicitly” released by someone with access to diplomatic reports.

Sir Kim announced on Wednesday he was standing down from his posting in Washington, saying his position had become “impossible” following a barrage of abuse from President Trump.

Trump
Sir Kim Darroch said his position had become ‘impossible’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Downing Street has said “initial discussions” have taken place with the police who could become formally involved in the leak inquiry if there was evidence of “criminal activity”.

In the Commons, Sir Alan told MPs: “We do not, at the moment, have any evidence that this was a hack so our focus is on finding someone within the system who has released illicitly these communications… that is where the inquiry is primarily focused at the moment.”

There was continuing anger among many MPs at the role played by Boris Johnson, whose repeated refusal to back Sir Kim in Tuesday’s Tory leadership debate was widely seen to have contributed to his decision to quit.

The frontrunner to succeed Theresa May insisted it was nothing to do with him, saying he was “very surprised” at the construction which had been placed on events.

“I can’t believe they’re trying to blame me for this,” he told The Sun.

Trump
Boris Johnson has dismissed claims he was responsible for Sir Kim’s resignation (Henry Nicholls/PA)

“It seems bizarre to me. I’m a great supporter of Kim’s. I worked very well with him for years. I think that he’s done a superb job.”

Meanwhile, Downing Street has refused to be drawn on whether Mrs May intends to appoint a new ambassador before she leaves office in two weeks’ time.

Allies of Mr Johnson have insisted that it must be for the next prime minister to decide who Britain’s new envoy to the US should be.

However in response to questions, Mrs May’s official spokesman said only: “In terms of this particular replacement, that will take place in due course.”

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us