The Wall Street Journal reports: A former British intelligence officer who is now a director of a private security-and-investigations firm has been identified as the author of the dossier of unverified allegations about President-elect Donald Trump’s activities and connections in Russia, people familiar with the matter say.
Christopher Steele, a director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., prepared the dossier, the people said. The document alleges that the Kremlin colluded with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and claims that Russian officials have compromising evidence of Mr. Trump’s behavior that could be used to blackmail him. Mr. Trump has dismissed the dossier’s contents as false and Russia has denied the claims.
Mr. Steele, 52 years old, is one of two directors of the firm, along with Christopher Burrows, 58.
Mr. Burrows, reached at his home outside London on Wednesday, said he wouldn’t “confirm or deny” that Orbis had produced the report. A neighbor of Mr. Steele’s said Mr. Steele said he would be away for a few days. In previous weeks Mr. Steele has declined repeated requests for interviews through an intermediary, who said the subject was “too hot.” [Continue reading…]
Business Insider reports: [A former CIA operations officer who ran as an independent during the 2016 presidential election, Evan] McMullin, who says he has known about certain details contained in the dossier since last July, said the intelligence community likely didn’t brief Obama or Trump about it until after the election because they needed time to vet the information.
Once the officials reviewed it, however, they could have concluded that it was more consequential than the thousands of reports and rumors they catch wind of every day.
“The vast majority of the information the CIA gets on a daily basis never makes it to a briefing for the president or the president-elect,” McMullin said.
Glenn Carle, who served 23 years in the CIA as the deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats, said that he, too, has “known of this information for over a year.”
“The intel community is not in the business of reporting vague rumors,” Carle, an associate fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, told Business Insider on Wednesday.
“I know that the CIA and the FBI have been intensively investigating this information for over a year, and perhaps years,” added Carle, the author of the book “The Interrogator.”
“They clearly considered it, in its aggregate, so serious — meaning plausible, but perhaps unproven — that they briefed only the top eight officials in the US government, known as the gang of eight. It was considered that sensitive.”
Another former CIA officer, who requested anonymity to discuss the dossier, agreed that the CIA and the FBI do not brief the president or the president-elect about non-vetted rumors.
Carle went further, noting that the president, the president-elect, and the gang of eight are only briefed on intelligence that the intelligence community considers to be of “grave national concern.” [Continue reading…]