The spy who wrote the Trump-Russia memos

Mother Jones has a story by David Corn on The Spy Who Wrote the Trump-Russia Memos: It Was “Hair-Raising” Stuff

Last fall, a week before the election, I broke the story that a former Western counterintelligence official had sent memos to the FBI with troubling allegations related to Donald Trump.

The memos noted that this spy’s sources had provided him with information indicating that Russian intelligence had mounted a yearslong operation to co-opt or cultivate Trump and had gathered secret compromising material on Trump. They also alleged that Trump and his inner circle had accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin.

These memos caused a media and political firestorm this week when CNN reported that President Barack Obama and Trump had been told about their existence, as part of briefings on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia hacked political targets during the 2016 campaign to help Trump become president.

For my story in October, I spoke with the former spy who wrote these memos, under the condition that I not name him or reveal his nationality or the spy service where he had worked for nearly two decades, mostly on Russian matters.

However the spy has been named and revealed.

  • Christopher Steele named as ex-MI6 agent behind ‘fake’ Trump sex dossier
  • He was a president of the Cambridge Union and ‘confirmed socialist’ as student 
  • Father-of-three was monitored by KGB in 1990s and his late wife also targeted
  • Steele is now an intelligence consultant who worked with FBI to bring down FIFA
  • His 35-page salacious file featured claims about Mr Trump’s links with Russia
  • Ex-spy has now fled his Surrey home ‘fearing for his life’ and may be abroad

From Daily Mail: Kremlin blames UK for Trump ‘sex storm’ as top Tory says relations with Russia are ‘about as bad as it could get’ without us being at WAR

Russia’s relations with Britain went into the deep freeze last night as Moscow blamed MI6 for the dossier of sordid claims about Donald Trump.

In an alarming Twitter post, the Russian embassy in London suggested the dossier’s alleged author, former British spy Christopher Steele, was still working for MI6 and ‘briefing both ways’ against Mr Trump and Moscow.

Mr Steele, who spied in Moscow in the 1990s, was last night in hiding after vanishing shortly before the damning dossier made headlines around the world. Neighbours said he had asked them to look after his three cats, and there were claims last night he was in an MI6 safe house.

So this is complex and has become a major story involving not just the US versus Russia, but the UK is also heavily involved. It’s likely to get messier.

Meanwhile the person at the centre of it all:

We are probably watching a train wreck unfold.

Leave a comment

67 Comments

  1. Telegraph reports that US intelligence agencies instructed Israel not to share intel with Trump given their concerns about his Russia ties.

    Train wreck is an understatement I’d say.

    Has anyone seen Donald’s birth cert? Wasn’t his real name Drumpov? Isn’t that Russian?

    Reply
  2. David

     /  14th January 2017

    Train wreck for the media rather than Trump, the public are no doubt sick to death of the biased reporting and would probably quite like to hear some detail on Trumps plans.

    Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  14th January 2017

    As Trump always says: Сделать Америку великой Снова.

    Reply
  4. siggghhh…… so a “report” with no factual backup has been leaked to the media before the Intelligence organisations that have known about it for months brief the President Elect on it is big news. Big News promoted by a media that has major egg on its face having completely cocked up the winner call on the Election for POTUS…..

    This is the anatomy of a smear. It will be interesting to see who is left at the heads of the various US intelligence organisations once the Obama appointees are moving on in January post inauguration. This all smells of a little dirty politics sponsored by the out going administration when the other party takes up the reins….

    In addition the embedded, non-elected bureaucrats are throwing their weight around in a semi public way to ensure the new boy on the block knows who has the real power in the US Governmental structures… all because Trump is an outsider to the normal political cadre which is the public face of the power structure…

    this is a non story

    Reply
  5. Alf Garnett

     /  14th January 2017

    This “dossier” is a phoney – not even the NYT, WaPo, LAT or BG wanted to go anywhere near it, and it’s been known to exist for at least 6 months. But with the assistance of decrepit old sleazeball John McCain, Buzzfeed couldn’t help themselves but shit-spatter it all over the front of their blog, and then CNN couldn’t help themselves either by spending the next 12 hours trying to give it oxygen and credibility.

    Watching the mainstream media trying to get Trump is like watching Wile E Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner, akin to those Japanese soldiers found running around in the Philippine and Indonesian jungles in the 70’s thinking the war was still on !

    Reply
    • LAT:
      Trump is hit with allegations that Russia gathered compromising information on him

      BT
      The US needs answers on Trump and Russia

      Wednesday’s press conference found Trump in obfuscation mode on all that, fuming, filibustering, and reframing, ducking, dodging, and evading. The president-elect and his team also lashed out at CNN under such patently false pretenses that it was hard not to conclude that their goal was to gull his base into thinking the cable news network had treated him unfairly.

      The matter that aroused Trump’s ire: news that a recent intelligence briefing he received included information about a political opposition research document with explosive but unsubstantiated allegations.

      Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  14th January 2017

      The ball’s in your court Alf…. your claim’s been demonstrably refuted….

      And comparisons between cheezels and roadrunners are laughable really. The pres-elect is clearly in the mold of the hapless coyote.

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  14th January 2017

        I think Alf was talking about BEFORE the dossier was leaked – of course all the MSM jumped onto the story once it dropped into the public arena so screen-dumping shots of that means nothing.

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  14th January 2017

      Personally I expect from what I’ve so far that it’s bs. But then so was some of the more outrageous nonsense doing the rounds about Clinton, & Obama’s birthcertificate, which Trump campaigners & he himself were happy to have out there & use against Clinton & the Dems.

      Trump pretty strongly hinted if he didn’t win he would be pursuing Clinton remoselessly, & that would’ve meant continuing a capaign of referring to disinfo & unverified allegations as before.

      This is how it is going to be, for the foreseeable future, I reckon.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th January 2017

        Trump pretty strongly hinted if he didn’t win he would be pursuing Clinton remoselessly

        When? All the comments I saw were rather that if he did win she would be in jail. And if he didn’t win it would all have been a waste of time and money. I think he is totally focused on winning, not losing. If he lost he would have turned to a completely new project.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  14th January 2017

          1. Trump pointedly & publicly refused to say whether he would accept the election result if Clinton won
          2. Trump consistently referred to his supporters as a ‘Movement’
          3. He said if he won she would be in jail – setting the scene for he & his campaigners to continue snapping at her heels
          4. Trump I don’t think spent a lot of his money, I think he probably spent a lot of little old white ladies’ money given in donations. But even if he did lay out a little bit of moolah that didn’t come from what was left over from the Trump Foundation’s purchases of lovingly rendered portraits of himself, it would’ve been chump change to him.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  14th January 2017

            So you were wrong again, G.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  14th January 2017

            No Alan. These are what strong hints are. I will accept your surrender when are ready.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th January 2017

              They might work in Wellington, G, but they are crap everywhere else.

            • Gezza

               /  14th January 2017

              “If he lost he would have turned to a completely new project.”
              No doubt he would, but he works ceaselessly, on multiple projects, and would not tolerate losing in this situation, imo. You may put your sword on that small table. You may retain your steel caps, but don’t wear them inside the house.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th January 2017

              Pathetic, G. Not accepting the election result related to the electoral system, not Clinton. The rest is even less relevant.

            • Gezza

               /  14th January 2017

              Inadequate Al. Mere guesswork on both our parts, mind. The man does not like to lose, with narcissistic tendencies. What he will do at any given time is unpredictable. But he likes to win, even he said that, & he does not admit to losing. Even his bankruptcies were strategies to win. I will end this here & you may have a last attempt if you wish to defend your dugout before I roll the Merkava over it.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th January 2017

              The wind has blown your brains away, G. He never hinted any such thing and you are now fantasising about driving an Israeli tank. Go have a lie down somewhere quiet and reflect on your recent adventures.

            • Gezza

               /  14th January 2017

              You were warned.

            • Gezza

               /  14th January 2017

              Minor technical problem with the gears? Trying again.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th January 2017

              Even your links have blown away.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th January 2017

              Very efficient parking. The glowing embers are a bit of a worry though.

            • Gezza

               /  14th January 2017

              It’s just a ding. A bit of bondy … 👍

  6. artcroft

     /  14th January 2017

    The great thing about this story is that its doesn’t need to be true. The birther story trump pushed was designed to remind people that Obama was black, his father was Kenyan and he had spent time growing up in Indonesia. And that was enough to damn Obama in many minds.

    Likewise this story (which may or may not be true) reminds us that Trump is a violent misogynist who lies and has betrayed others in the past. Like the birther myth this story ain’t disappearing.

    Reply
  7. Blazer

     /  14th January 2017

    Steele is a career detective and spy.He was married to Stephanie Zimbalist,and caught smuggling viagra into the U.K in the 1990’s.He knows too much,no wonder he is in hiding.

    Reply
    • Nice try Blazer, been at the funny pills again? Remington Steele has no relationship to Christopher and “Stephanie Zimbalist – Why She Never Married

      Oddly for an attractive woman who was one of the biggest crushes for most male viewers in the 80s and early 90s, Stephanie Zimbalist is not married and does not even have a boyfriend, today! Of course, that does not mean she never had a boyfriend.”

      Reply
  8. Even that well known MI6 former spy and author Frederick Forsyth is sceptical of the Steele dossier as follows:
    Ex-MI6 officer: Trump dossier ‘hard to believe’
    13 January 2017 Last updated at 09:21 GMT
    Frederick Forsyth, a spy author, who worked for MI6 for 20 years, says he does not believe that the alleged dossier findings about Donald Trump are genuine.
    He tells the Today programme that if these findings were true, it would show Trump to be a “congenital idiot” and the USSR to have an unexplained interest in Trump five years before political office.”
    BBC NEWS ONLINE

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  14th January 2017

      it would show Trump to be a “congenital idiot”

      No arguments there, BJ and Frederick. That’s becoming more and more evident by the day…

      As for Russia’s “unexplained interest”, I hazard a guess that Russia (and other countries) would not only target political figures but also business people and investors with deep pockets as well…

      Reply
      • Thanks Joe, yes, they may do that but if they are found out then they would have a hell of a lot to lose from an economic point of view. Those who play games in the business world could end up severely out of pocket. If you are a businessman who has integrity and mature approach to morals, then any attempts to sexually compromise or bribe will fail. I know most men have no conscience with standing genitalia (as my old RSM used to say) but in Russia, you need to be alert and not naive. Trust is a two way tool in business as well as politics.

        Reply
      • Alf Garnett

         /  14th January 2017

        “No arguments there, BJ and Frederick. That’s becoming more and more evident by the day…”

        He outsmarted the DNC, the RNC, the media, the intelligentsia, the Hollowood elite and the globalists. He’s no idiot. [Deleted – personal attacks like that are not appropriate here, and in this case make you look like how you described JB. PG]

        Reply
    • Jeeves

       /  15th January 2017

      Jesus,bjm, ffs, Frederick Forsyth ?/?/?
      Quick someone,ring john le carre, ask him if he thinks its real too.
      Any of the original bletchley park girls still alive? Ask them as well,lol

      Reply
  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th January 2017

    It seems quite bizarre that there is almost nothing about this story on RealClearPolitics today. Why are the Americans ignoring it and the Brits focusing on it?

    Reply
  10. Klik Bate

     /  14th January 2017

    My niece in the US retweeted…..

    Reply
  11. I just picked this up from a source that I can’t rate higher than F4 based on past reports.
    It is about the Democratic National Committee (US) hacking during the campaign.

    “The hacker who claimed to compromise the DNC swore he was Romanian, but new investigation shows he worked directly for Russia President Vladimir Putin’s government in Moscow. The Daily Beast reports:
    The hacker who claims to have stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and provided them to WikiLeaks is actually an agent of the Russian government and part of an orchestrated attempt to influence U.S. media coverage surrounding the presidential election, a security research group concluded on Tuesday. The researchers, at Arlington, Va.-based ThreatConnect, traced the self-described Romanian hacker Guccifer 2.0 back to an Internet server in Russia and to a digital address that has been linked in the past to Russian online scams. Far from being a single, sophisticated hacker, Guccifer 2.0 is more likely a collection of people from the propaganda arm of the Russian government meant to deflect attention away from Moscow as the force behind the DNC hacks and leaks of emails, the researchers found. ThreatConnect is the first known group of experts to link the self-proclaimed hacker to a Russian operation, amidst an ongoing FBI investigation and a presidential campaign rocked by the release of DNC emails that have embarrassed senior party leaders and inflamed intraparty tensions turning the Democratic National Convention. The emails revealed that party insiders plotted ways to undermine Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid.
    The researchers at the aforementioned security firm are basing their conclusion on three signals: the hacker used Russian computers to edit PDF files, he also used Russian VPN — and other internet infrastructure from the country, and that he was unable to speak Romanian.”
    Maybe that Ben Rachinger could add something about the believable or not question?

    Reply
  12. Pete Kane

     /  14th January 2017

    Steele has three cats, says it all. NATO still seems to be the ‘linkage’ to me.

    Reply
  13. Pete Kane

     /  14th January 2017

    Gusty here. Just rain spots. Thought it was coming up through the Gardens, but may Northland.

    Reply
  14. For the benefit of those who do not understand the rating of information in Intelligence agencies, I recommend a glance at this site :
    ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_source_and_information_reliability

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  15th January 2017

      have any of them got an AAA rating….these days?

      Reply
      • No such thing, A1 is as good as it gets.

        Reply
        • “This isn’t the first time the cybersecurity community has cast doubt on the Obama administration and the US Government analysis after cyberattacks.

          Following the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack in 2014, the FBI and the Obama administration moved quickly to pin the blame on hackers working for the government of North Korea, citing similarities in the malware used in the attack. That, despite persistent questions from cybersecurity experts about other possible culprits.

          Others point to another, older incident of bad intelligence from DHS and FBI. In 2011, the agencies revealed they were investigating a purported Russian hack that caused a water pump to fail in the Curran-Gardner Township Public Water District in Illinois. The news spawned a blizzard of reports about destructive cyberattacks from the US’s Cold War foe.

          Like the Burlington Electric hack, however, further investigations soon proved those initial reports were wrong. The pump in question simply reached the end of its life and burned out.

          The Curran-Gardner dust-up eventually faded into the background. The administration’s narrative about North Korea hacking Sony Pictures eventually prevailed. But the controversy over the government’s report on Russia’s hacking may be more difficult to recover from, experts say. ”
          What the cyber community is saying in part about the US Report on the hacking.
          They continue:

          “Since it was released last week, the DHS and FBI analysis of the campaign (that) the agencies dubbed “Grizzly Steppe” has been roundly criticized by cybersecurity professionals as incomplete, outdated, and politicized.

          Grizzly missteps?

          “The Grizzly Steppe report reads like a poorly done vendor intelligence report stringing together various aspects of attribution without evidence,” wrote Robert M. Lee, a former Air Force Cyber Warfare Operations Office and the chief executive of the cybersecurity firm Dragos Security.

          Even though Lee has said he believes Russian operatives hacked the DNC, he says the government has stumbled making its case. His criticism, and those of other cybersecurity professionals, centers on the decision by DHS and FBI to characterize an extensive catalog of hacker groups, as well as tools, tactics and characteristics – what the industry refers to as “indicators of compromise” – and attribute all of it to the Russian government.

          But the government’s laundry list of evidence also includes common families of malicious software with names like BlackEnergy and Havex that are widely known and used by state actors and cybercriminals alike. While some of that software may have been created in Russia and found in prior Russian government campaigns, it doesn’t prove the government’s case that Russian operatives carried out the US political hacks.

          “[The Grizzly Steppe report] is full of garbage,” wrote security expert Robert Graham on his blog. “It contains signatures of viruses that are publicly available, used by hackers around the world, not just Russia. It contains a long list of IP addresses from perfectly normal services, like Tor, Google, Dropbox, Yahoo, and so forth.”

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  15th January 2017

          alot of them are scoring …AD…at the moment Col….Artificial,Dissemination.

          Reply
      • Would you support reducing Government spending and paying off more debt to improve our credit rating?

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s