“I think it was disgraceful – disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace… and that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.”
US President-Elect Donald Trump
“The Steele dossier was not the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”
Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch — Founders of Fusion GPS
The ‘Trump dossier’ consists of a series of unsigned memos that appear to have been written between June and December 2016. The dossier contains lurid and mostly hard-to-prove allegations. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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UPDATE (January 14 2018) — Here are the most recent developments:
January 2 2018 — The founders of Fusion GPS, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch authored an op-ed in the New York Times, requesting that Republicans, “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony.”
January 5 2018 — In the first known Congressional criminal referral resulting from investigations related to the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley made a referral to the Justice Department suggesting that they investigate possible criminal charges against Christopher Steele, author of the dossier. Senator Lindsey Graham also signed the letter.
January 8 2018 — A spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ranking Committee Member Senator Dianne Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript the next day.
January 9 2018 — Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen sued Buzzfeed for defamation over allegations about him in the dossier, which Buzzfeed had published.
End of UPDATE
The 30-page typewritten report alleges that:
Trump aides were involved with the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic Party of his rival Hillary Clinton.
Moscow has damaging information about the president-elect’s business interests
The RIS (Russian Intelligence Services) have taped a salacious video of Trump’s private life.
What are we supposed to make of this ‘Dossier’? Here is what some experts have to say.
“Too Good to be True” — Andrew Wordsworth (RAEDAS)
Andrew Wordsworth is a co-founder of London-based investigations firm ‘Raedas’, who often works on Russian issues. Here is what Wordsworth said:
“The memos in the Trump dossier are not convincing at all.”
“It’s just way too good. If the head of the CIA were to declare he got information of this quality, you wouldn’t believe it.”
“It wouldn’t make sense for Russian intelligence officials to expose state secrets to a former MI6 officer. Russians believe once you are an agent, you’re an agent forever.”
“Farrago of Nonsense” — Annie Machon (Former MI5)
Annie Machon is a former UK MI5 officer and she is thoroughly familiar with the shenanigans of MI6. Here is what she thinks about the document:
“This farrago of nonsense makes the infamous Iraq weapons of mass destruction report look positively professional in comparison.”
“And if, in some parallel universe, these fabrications could conceivably be true, the leaking to the US media of these alleged reports by a so-called British MI6 ‘operative’ would have blown the cover of innumerable highly placed and valuable intelligence sources.”
“Such sources are the crown jewels of intelligence work, so if these reports have any basis in reality, I would expect heads to roll in both MI6 and the CIA.”
“Clever Fabrication” — Phillip Giraldi (Former CIA)
“At first read, this has all the hallmarks of a clever fabrication, the sort of thing we at CIA used to do in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.”
“Rubbish” — Ray McGovern (Former CIA)
“The rubbish released yesterday by CNN about the blackmail material that the Russians supposedly have on President-elect Trump is not to be taken seriously. The episode is, nonetheless, quite serious.”
“CIA Director John Brennan seems to have concluded that with his patron/president gone, he (Brennan) will be “thrown under the bus,” as smart people say – and do – in Washington. If the Trump administration folks are as vindictive as Brennan fears (and he has given them lot to be vindictive about), there is much to blame Brennan for, including serious crimes.”
“It is possible to regard this latest outrage as a kind of prophylactic: If Trump goes after Brennan, the former CIA chief can try to make it appear to be retaliation for “the goods Brennan has on Trump — but (of course) cannot reveal in detail because of the sensitivity of ‘sources and methods’.”
“I told you so!” — John R. Schindler (Former NSA)
“When spies get angry, they call reporters and arrange discreet chats in parking garages. The last president who entered the Oval Office with this much dislike and distrust of the IC was Richard Nixon—and we know how that worked out for him.”
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“If we were to take this report at face value, half the people cited should be in prison. But we can’t verify any of it, and so it might just be a story.”
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and until we’ve seen such evidence, I’d be extremely sceptical. The entire story reads like a fabulist plot from a piece of spy fiction.”
“Hard to Believe” — Former senior U.S. Intelligence Official
“A former senior U.S. intelligence official also questioned his ability to maneuver in Russia and gain access to high-level officials with ties to the Kremlin or Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
“How did this former British intelligence officer talk to all these Russian officials and not get arrested for espionage?”
“Steele’s identity and association with his investigations firm are public, and are almost certainly known to Russian counterintelligence. They would have been all over him.”
“The Dossier Is Fake.” — Paul R. Gregory (Professor at Houston University)
“Some of the stories are so bizarre (the Rosneft $12 billion bribe) that they fail the laugh test. Yet, there appears to be a desire on the part of some media and Trump opponents on both sides of the aisle to picture the Orbis report as genuine but unverifiable.”
“After reading the Orbis report I got the queasy feeling that it may have influenced intelligence community’s unclassified report. Leaks of classified bits by ‘NBC News’ and the Washington Post suggest the findings were, in part, based on British intelligence and spies.”
“This story is utter nonsense, not worthy of a wacky conspiracy theory of an alien invasion.”
“The Trump dossier is tonight’s lead item on German state television and on BBC. False news has become America’s international export to the world media.”
“There are two possible explanations for the fly-on-the-wall claims of the Orbis report: Either its author (who is not Mr. Steele) decided to write fiction, or collected enough gossip to fill a 30-page report, or a combination of the two.”
‘I am Dubious’ — Frederick Forsyth (Former MI6)
Frederick Forsyth is a former spy who worked for MI6 for 20 years.
“What would have been the point? I don’t think there’s any indication that the man who was host of the game show Apprentice and builder of hotels was ever going to be anything important in the political world. I have not seen a shred of evidence.”
Legendary US journalist Bob Woodward
“That is a garbage document. It never should have been presented in — as part of an intelligence briefing.”
Buzzfeed Editor Defends Publishing Donald Trump Dossier
The editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News has defended the decision to publish unsubstantiated claims about Donald Trump’s links to Russia, his sexual proclivities and susceptibility to blackmail by Vladimir Putin as “absolutely the right thing to do”.
In the face of growing criticism, led by the US president-elect who on Wednesday branded the website a “failing pile of garbage”, Ben Smith said: “We are now in a media environment where you have to engage in false statements.” However, he admitted this position was “incredibly uncomfortable for everyone”. [Guardian]
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