Ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele a ‘highly-regarded professional’
THU, JAN 12, 2017, 15:55 NICK HOPKINS, LUKE HARDING
His denials – at least some of them – were emphatic, even by the standards that Donald Trump has come to be judged by. The dossier, he said, was a confection of lies; he compared it to Nazi propaganda; it was fake news spread by sick people.
At his press briefing on Wednesday, the president-elect effectively dared the world’s media to scrutinise the 35 pages of claims, before throwing down a challenge – where’s the proof? Nobody had any. Case closed.
But in the rush to trample all over the dossier and its contents, one key question remained. Why had America’s intelligence agencies felt it necessary to provide a compendium of the claims to Barack Obama and Trump himself?
And the answer to that lies in the credibility of its apparent author, the ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele, the quality of the sources he has and the quality of the people who were prepared to vouch for him.
In both respects, the 53-year-old was in credit. Former colleagues of Steele describe him as “very credible” – a sober, cautious and meticulous professional with a formidable track record.