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Cops 'closing in' on mole who leaked envoy cables; Pro-Brexit link to leak denied; US diplomat backs criticisms.

Byline: NICOLA BARTLETT and CHRISTOPHER BUCKTIN US Editor

THE mole who leaked memos from Britain's Ambassador to the US has been identified, according to reports.

In the emails, Sir Kim Darroch said Donald Trump had abandoned the Iran nuclear deal in an "act of diplomatic vandalism" to spite Barack Obama.

Scotland Yard and UK intelligence services believe a civil servant who had access to historical Foreign Office files was responsible for the leak.

A government source reportedly said: "It's now a case of building a case that will stand up in court."

It was said the mole, who experts say could only have come from a small number of people with such access, may have had "ideological reasons".

The journalist behind the leaks, Isabel Oakeshott, was forced to deny her partner Richard Tice, chairman of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, had any role in the leaks.

She said Mr Tice, who said he wants Sir Kim replaced by a "pro-Brexit businessman" to lead "a quick US trade deal", had not seen the memos prior to their publication.

Ms Oakeshott tweeted: "He had nothing to do with my story; has never seen the cables and doesn't know the identity of the source."

Sir Kim's memo was sent in May 2018, after then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had been sent to Washington to beg Mr Trump to save the Iran deal.

Bruce Heyman, a former US Ambassador to Canada, has backed Sir Kim's "vandalism" criticism as "the most accurate assessment of Mr Trump's diplomatic strategy".

Sir Kim resigned after the Tory leadership race frontrunner Mr Johnson failed to commit to keeping him in his post. The Metropolitan Police is now under fire for threatening to make arrests if further leaks are printed.

Mr Johnson said any prosecution "would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate".

Rival Jeremy Hunt said he would "defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks".

The Met's assistant commissioner Neil Basu said the force had "no intention" of trying to prevent the publication of stories in the public interest.

nicola.bartlett@mirror.co.uk @NICOLARBARTLETT VOICE OF THE MIRROR: PAGE 8

frontrunner cables and Vandalism is the word for Trump's diplomatic strategy BRUCE HEYMAN EX-US AMBASSADOR TO CANADA

CAPTION(S):

power couple Trump, wife Melania and, inset, Sir Kim

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 15, 2019
Words:393
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