Christopher Steele, 52, the former British MI6 spy who authored the 35-page dirty dossier on Donald Trump, has gone underground and is attempting to hide behind UK privacy rules.
Despite it being “classified” and its information totally unverified, CNN reported the dossier as a legitimate U.S. intelligence document, and Buzzfeed saw fit to publish it online.
One of the most ridiculous claims in the dossier is a lurid account that on a trip to Russia, Trump had hired hookers to urinate (“golden showers”) on a bed in the Moscow Ritz Carlton on which Obama supposedly had slept, and that Russia has a tape of the “golden showers”. The story has all the marks of something a pimply-faced teenager living in his mommy’s basement would conjure, as if Trump would be so juvenile and stupid as to do that, well knowing that Russian intelligence has the hotel and its rooms wired.
Actually, we have good reason to think a pimply-faced teenager did concoct the “golden showers” incident.
According to ZeroHedge, a poster on the scuzzy 4chan chat forum had invented the “golden showers” incident as a hoax. Jim Stone says he saw the 4chan “golden showers” post last November 1. (There’s no record of the post because 4chan scrubs its chatter after a day.)
The 4chan hoaxer then sent the “golden showers” story to Rick Wilson — the GOP consultant who, during the GOP primaries, had called for assassinating Trump. Wilson then sent the story to the CIA, who included the completely unverified account in their official classified (therefore, secret) intelligence report on Russia’s hacking and interference the 2016 election.
On January 11, 2017, the day after the CNN article on the dossier, in his first press conference as President-elect, Trump denounced the CNN report as “fake news” and Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage”. The Kremlin, too, calls the dossier a “complete fabrication” and denies having “compromising” information on Trump.
In a phone call to Trump and in an official statement, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.” Clapper calls the 35-page dossier “a private security company document” that “is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product”.
The “private security company” is Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. in London, which is owned by Chris Steels and Christopher Burrows, also a former MI6 agent, who claims not to have been involved in the dossier.
Reportedly, Steele, who is described as a “confirmed socialist” as a student at Cambridge, was paid by two groups to put together the dirty dossier on Trump — first, Trump’s GOP primary opponents; then after Trump became the GOP nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and supporters.
Carl Bernstein, who co-wrote the CNN report, said Chris Steele gave the dossier to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is bitterly anti-Trump. McCain then handed it to the FBI. (New York Post) Another account said McCain got the dossier from “a former British ambassador”. (Daily Mail)
That’s how the 35-page dossier ended up in U.S. intelligence files on Trump, even though, according to James Clapper, the intelligence agencies could not determine the reliability or truth of the dossier’s information, nor did the agencies “rely upon it in any way” for their conclusions. All of which should lead us to ask why the dossier is included in U.S. intelligence reports on Trump in the first place.
Ex-MI6 spook Chris Steele is reported to be in fear for his life after his name became public. Steele, who had spied for the UK in Moscow in the 1990s, fled his home in Surrey so quickly that lights were left and neighbors were hurriedly asked to look after his three cats. There are claims he is hiding out in an MI6 safe house amid fears of backlash from Moscow. Downing Street is refusing to be drawn on whether the government had offered assistance to Steele.
A representative for Steele and his family, as well as his business partner, ask that journalists stop trying to contact them, their employees and family members citing privacy and harassment regulations, which is most ironic because Steele had no such qualms in compiling his dossier of unverified trash on Trump.
Steele’s involvement in the Trump dossier now threatens to be a diplomatic problem for the UK government, caught in the crossfire between the U.S and Russia.
In a tweet, Russia’s London embassy suggests that Steele is still working for MI6 and “briefing both ways” against Trump and Moscow.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May — who is due to visit Washington in the coming weeks with Trump in the White House — is under pressure to reassure Trump the UK had nothing to do with the dossier. At the same time, according to the Telegraph, sources claim Steele had spoken to government officials in London before handing the report to the FBI.
There are also reports that when Steele was active as an MI6 agent, he had worked with Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko — the former KGB man who was murdered with the lethal poison polonium in London in 2006, on the orders of Moscow.
For an excellent article on Chris Steele, the failed MI6 spy, and why his report is not credible, see John Helmer, “Deconstructing MI6 Smear Artist Chris Steele’s ‘Dossier’ on Trump’s Moscow Visit,” Russian Insider, Jan. 18, 2017.