‘Surprised and shocked’: Christopher Steele reemerges — defending his controversial 2016 dossier
After avoiding the spotlight for a long time, former British spy Christopher Steele has reemerged — and he is still a vehement critic of former President Donald Trump.
Discussing the Steele dossier of 2016 during an interview in his London home with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, the private intelligence professional said, "I stand by the work we did, the sources that we had, and the professionalism which we applied to it."
Reporting for ABC News' website, journalists Matthew Mosk, Lucien Bruggeman and Chris Donovan explain, "The dossier's contents, laid out in 17 memos, upended Washington and quickly ricocheted across the globe after BuzzFeed News published the bombshell reports in early 2017 — ten days before Donald Trump was sworn into office. The salacious mix of sex, spies, and scandal made for an irresistible political drama. But the real-world implications of its claims, even though unproven, exacerbated an already fraught moment in American history."
Trump was quick to dismiss the Steele dossier as "fake news." And Mosk, Bruggeman and Donovan note that even some of Trump's detractors — including those who slammed him for being too favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin — were "skeptical" about the dossier's allegations.
"Over time," the ABC News reporters point out, "journalists and experts from both sides of the political aisle grew increasingly skeptical about the dossier's claims, noting that despite deep investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team and others, many of Steele's allegations have never been verified, and some have been debunked."
Barry Meier, a critic of the Steele dossier and author of the book "Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies," told ABC News, "Everyone with whom the dossier was shared sent reporters out, tried to confirm the basic allegations within it. And it never got any traction because no one could nail anything in it down."
Nonetheless, Steele stands by the dossier.
The former spy told Stephanopoulos, "It was credible reporting. We knew some of it was right, and we suspected some of it may never be provable…. It meant that, for the first time, there was a potentially serious situation of 'kompromat' against a presidential candidate. And therefore, it became much more of serious issue than we had expected. I was surprised and shocked."
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