Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele prepared the dossier that alleges among other things Russia has blackmail on President-elect Donald Trump, according to a report Wednesday from The Wall Street Journal.
Steele, 52, lives in London and works for Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. He is a director of the London-based intelligence firm along with Christopher Burrows. CNN reported Tuesday that a former British intelligence officer, who the Journal identified as Steele, created a dossier on alleged deep-ties between Russia and President-elect Trump.
Burrows wouldn’t “confirm or deny” to the Journal whether his firm conducted the dossier, and said that they don’t have a “political ax to grind.” Steele was not at his London home, and has denied interview requests in recent weeks.
The CNN report said that top U.S. intelligence officials briefed President-elect Trump and President Barack Obama on the dossier. NBC said Wednesday, however, that Trump was never briefed on it. The NBC report added that a summary of dossier was included in an addendum on Russian election interference to help distinguish between unverified reports and “analyzed intelligence.”
Anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats reportedly paid Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd to create the dossier, but the firm does not appear in Federal Election Commission filings. Presidential campaigns and supporting committees did pay limited liability companies, of which ownership is hard to discern, the Journal noted.
Orbis’ website’s section on intelligence says their “core strength is our ability to meld a high–level source network with a sophisticated investigative capability.”
Another London-based private investigator Andrew Wordsworth told the Journal that the dossier wasn’t “convincing at all.” He added, “If the head of the CIA were to declare he got information of this quality, you wouldn’t believe it.” (RELATED: BuzzFeed Just Published Unverified Claims About Trump And Russian Hookers)