Christopher Steele, a former MI6 intelligence officer who graduated from Girton in 1986, is alleged to be behind the Donald Trump Russia dossier. Steele was also President of the Cambridge Union Society.
The existence and alleged authorship of the dossier was first reported by CNN on 11 January, ‘fatally’ compromising Steele’s anonymity according to The Telegraph, as his nationality is referred to.
The 35-page file contained claims that the Kremlin was involved in Trump’s presidential campaign, and that Trump was made vulnerable to blackmail whilst in Russia. The Russian security services are alleged to be in possession of videos proving that Trump paid sex workers to defile a bed slept in by the Obamas in a Moscow hotel.
The entire series of reports, which are unsubstantiated and in some places erroneous, have since been published by BuzzFeed.
It is understood that Steele left his home just hours before he was publicly named and is now in hiding. A source close to Steele said on Wednesday night that he fears a potentially dangerous reaction from Moscow. Steele is said to have once worked with the former spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed by radioactive poisoning in November 2006 in suspicious circumstances.
Apparently Steele had been hired by a Washington firm to research Trump’s connections to Russia, funded by anti-Trump Republicans and then Democrats. The information was also shared with the FBI.
Christopher Burrows, who is co-director of Orbis with Steele, has refused to confirm or deny whether the firm had produced reports on Trump. Trump, meanwhile, has denounced the dossier as ‘fake’ and ‘phony’, blaming intelligence agencies for alleged leaks. Some also claim that the story is an elaborate '4Chan' hoax.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the reports were a "complete fabrication and utter nonsense" and the Russian government "does not engage in collecting compromising material".