The ex-spy author of the infamous anti-Donald Trump dossier has admitted that at least some of his charges are unverified.
Christopher Steele made the admission through his attorneys at a court in London:
Barristers for Mr. Steele and his Orbis Business Intelligence firm filed their first defense against a defamation lawsuit brought by Aleksej Gubarev, chief executive of the network solutions firm XBT Holdings.
Mr. Steele acknowledges that the part of the 35-page dossier that identified Mr. Gubarev as a rogue hacker came from “unsolicited intelligence” and “raw intelligence” that “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified.”
In the dossier, Steele accused Gubarev of using his web hosting companies to flood Democratic Party computer networks with pornography.
Steele also insists that the dossier was never meant to be made public. His court filing paints him as a victim of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired him:
Fusion specializes in opposition research for Democrats and circulated the Steele dossier among reporters in an effort to injure the Trump candidacy and presidency. Mr. Steele said he never authorized Fusion to do that.
“The defendants did not provide any of the pre-election memoranda to media organizations or journalists. Nor did they authorize anyone to do so,” Mr. Steele said through his attorney. “Nor did they provide the confidential December memorandum to media organizations or journalists. Nor did they authorize anyone to do so.”
“At all material times Fusion was subject to an obligation not to disclose to third parties confidential intelligence material provided” by Mr. Steele and his firm Orbis, the court filing reads.
Additionally, Steele blames BuzzFeed for publishing the dossier:
Mr. Steele says the ultimate responsibility lies with BuzzFeed, the liberal news website whose editor, Ben Smith, decided to post the entire 35 pages — memos from June to December — on Jan. 10 even though Mr. Smith said he doubted the far-flung accusations were true.
Steele’s admission casts further doubt on his claim that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Russian agents in Prague to conspire against Hillary Clinton. Cohen has never been to Prague. He’s currently seeking legal action against both Steele and BuzzFeed.