British Court Jeopardizes Intelligence Ties Between U.K., U.S.

Associated Press/

LONDON — Intelligence ties between London and Washington have been jeopardized by a British court’s disclosure that a terrorism suspect was beaten and shackled in U.S. custody, diplomats and security officials said Wednesday.

Fears in the United States that Britain can no longer be trusted with secrets is prompting an urgent assessment of relations between the allies and — according to some sources — has already slowed the flow of sensitive information from the U.S.

Britain’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday authorized the release of a previously secret summary of CIA documents detailing the treatment of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed. Mohamed was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and, according to the British court, subjected to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.”

Foreign Secretary David Miliband fought for two years to block publication of the seven-paragraph summary, insisting that would violate a long-standing rule that nations don’t disclose intelligence shared by their allies.

The White House said Wednesday the British court’s judgment “will complicate the confidentiality of our intelligence-sharing relationship.”

Experts warn the ruling could hurt Britain’s ability to defend itself against terrorism, and represents the most serious challenge to intelligence cooperation since double agents during the Cold War.

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