Opinion

Steele Has More To Fear Than Fear Itself

Getty Images and Shuttertsock/ By Win McNamee and Link Art

“Afraid”?

In an earlier Daily Caller piece, I laid out potential reasons why, as new documents reveal, Christopher Steele, the former British spy paid by Fusion GOP to compile the anti-Trump dossier that even former FBI director James Comey called “unverified and salacious,” was “very concerned about [former FBI Director James] Comey’s firing — afraid they will be exposed.”

That was according to notes taken by fourth-ranking Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr.

But there is more — and worse — that this former spook might be “afraid” would be exposed.

For instance, we know that Mr. Ohr had a conflict of interest during the presidential campaign and transition, according to congressional investigators, because his wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS.

This raises the further question: How much did she, and therefore Mr. Ohr, make of the $1 million that flowed to Fusion GPS from the Clinton Campaign and Hillary-controlled DNC?

It may be that this conflict further explains why GPS Fusion head “Glenn Simpson … in the course of an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee … failed to name [Nellie] Ohr as a Fusion contractor on being asked several times about Fusion’s Russia experts.”

Or perhaps Steele was afraid of exposure, and Simpson failed to name Nellie Ohr because of her apologetics on behalf of Soviet-era Stalinism.

After all, according to the brilliant Diana West, Nellie Ohr called Robert W. Thurston’s 1996 book, Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1939-1941 — which argued that “Stalin did not intend to terrorize the country and did not need to rule by fear” — “an ambitious and forceful attack on descriptions of the Soviet 1930s as totalitarian.”

Nellie Ohr likewise called Stalin’s Russia by Chris Ward, an emeritus Cambridge scholar with a “contagious enthusiasm” for the writings of Trotsky, “a useful reference work on Stalin’s time” and “a serious contender for undergraduate course adoption,” in spite of the fact that it “dismisses [the Ukraine mass terror famine] as just another atrocity of a bloody Western civilization,” and that its conclusion’s subtitle “is, ‘Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner’ — to understand all is to forgive all.”

Wait, “forgive” Stalin?

In her review of Ward’s book, Nellie Ohr carps, “To introduce students to the Stalin era can be a frustrating task,” because it can be difficult “to convey the terror and excitement of the period.”

Wait, the “excitement” of Stalin’s time?

Accounts of the time, Nellie argued, “fail to explain the excesses of the Stalin era, and whether … Stalin was necessary.”

Wait, Stalin was “necessary”?

In her writings, Nellie Ohr also opined that inter alia work by John Scott “insufficiently explains the excesses of the Stalin era.” Scott, it turned out (after her review), “had been an NKVD agent (codename “Ivanov”) who had taken time off from Time magazine during World War II to infiltrate the OSS.”

An account by an actual Soviet spy “insufficiently explains the excesses of the Stalin era”?

Finally, by her own account, Nellie Ohr acquired “remarkable access” to Soviet-era files.

That’s in spite of the fact that contemporaneous accounts of studying in Russia include the assertions that “historians … had to adjust their research questions to the limitations of the Soviet historical establishment [read: KGB]”; and that “this system had the potential to limit inquiry to be acceptable topics and interpretations sanctioned by the Soviet establishment.”

Imagine: Nellie Ohr, adjusting her research questions to the limitations of the Soviets, then directing her inquiry to the acceptable topics of the Soviets, and finally promulgating only her interpretations sanctioned by the Soviets.

But Steele may also have been afraid it would be discovered that Nellie wasn’t the only one with such predilections.

For instance, according to a Daily Mail account of Steele’s own college days, “Contemporaries recall an ‘avowedly Left-wing student with CND credentials.’

According to West, “CND” stands for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a Marxist-infiltrated organization deemed “communist and subversive” by MI5 “for its efforts to disarm Britain, force U.S. cruise missiles off British bases, and decouple Europe generally from the U.S.-led NATO alliance.”

The Daily Mail also turned up a book reporting that at the time, Steele was a “confirmed socialist.”

No wonder that, according to Joel Gilbert and Jack Cashill’s analysis of “Steele’s” dossier, much of the dossier “[reads] as though written by an individual not fully fluent in English.”

Perhaps that’s because the dossier was written in collusion with — or by — the Russians that Democrats are so worried about.

Sorry, I forgot, Russians aren’t supposed to be socialist anymore.

Perhaps this is why the FBI told the FISA Court four times that it “did not believe” Steele was the source for the report used to justify spying on Page.

To sum up, perhaps Steele was “very concerned” about Comey’s firing because he was afraid he and/or Nellie Ohr would be exposed as conflicted, Stalin apologist/confirmed socialist Russian dupes, at best — and at worst, spies.

If so, Steele has more to fear than fear itself.

Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., the Executive Vice President of the Center for Security Policy, served four tours on Capitol Hill, including most recently as the Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Steve King, (R-Iowa).  He is the author of Grassroots Rules.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.