Ex-spy behind Trump intelligence dossier identified: report

Ex-spy behind Trump intelligence dossier identified: report
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A former British intelligence officer who prepared a dossier about President-elect Trump’s ties to Russia has been identified, according to a new report.

Christopher Steele created the controversial document about the Russian government’s alleged power over Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The dossier, which alleges links between Trump's campaign and the Russian government, as well as the existence of compromising Russian-owned material on Trump, created a stir Tuesday. CNN reported that the dossier's contents came up in an intelligence meeting with Trump, and BuzzFeed later published the unverified document — two reports Trump and his staff denounced in a press conference today.

Steele is now a director at a private security and investigations firm in London, according to the Journal. 

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Steele, 52, is one of two directors at Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. The dossier's creator has been repeatedly described in reports as having a good reputation in intelligence circles.

Orbis was formed in 2009 by former British intelligence professionals, according to the firm’s website. The company mounts “intelligence-gathering operations” and conducts “complex, often cross-border investigations."

A source told the Journal that Steele created the dossier, which is a series of unsigned memos seemingly written between June and December 2016.

Steele also devised a plan for disseminating the document to U.S. and European law enforcement officials, they added, including the FBI.

Orbis’s other co-director is Christopher Burrows, 58, a former counselor in Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth office.

Burrows told the publication he would not “confirm or deny” Orbis had a role in the report.

“We have no political ax to grind,” he said, adding that Orbis “sees what’s out there first” when conducting an investigation and then performs a “stress test” on its results.

CNN reported Tuesday, meanwhile, that top intelligence officials presented Trump with a two-page synopsis of the dossier last week.

The synopsis was reportedly attached as an appendix to the intelligence community’s report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.

The controversial dossier alleges the Russian government possesses compromising financial and personal information about Trump. It also claims that people close to Trump kept touch with Moscow during last year’s presidential campaign.

U.S. intelligence officials have not verified the dossier's details, however, and it remains unclear how reliable they are.

Trump on Wednesday fiercely criticized the dossier's leak to media outlets.

“I think it was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake [to get out],” he said at his press conference in New York City's Trump Tower.

“That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do,” Trump added during his first press conference as president-elect.