Britain's recently resigned ambassador to the US vouched for the credibility of Christopher Steele - the former MI6 spy who cobbled together a Russian-sourced dossier full of fabrications about Donald Trump.
Sir Kim Darroch, who resigned after confidential memos were leaked in which he slammed President Trump and his administration, told a US official that Steele was "absolutely" legit, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
Today The Sunday Telegraph can also disclose that Sir Kim is said to have vouched for the credibility of Christopher Steele, the author of an explosive dossier of claims about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, in conversation with at least one US official. Asked whether Mr Steele, a former MI6 officer, was "legit", Sir Kim replied: "Absolutely". His comments later appeared in the New Yorker magazine. -Sunday Telegraph
Of note, the suspected leaker has reportedly been identified, and a foreign state has been ruled out as the culprit.
Steele was commissioned by Fusion GPS to produce the infamous dossier ultimately paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC during the 2016 US election. It was later used to secure a FISA spy warrant on one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and later used to smear the president in the court of public opinion.
Interestingly, a top official with the US Justice Department warned the FBI that Steele's research was inaccurate and was likely biased due to its origins as an opposition research document. As we noted in May, ten days before the FBI used the now-discredited dossier to apply for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Steele met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, who took handwritten notes of the encounter.
Steele told Kavalec that Russia had a "technical/human operation run out of Moscow targeting the election," which recruited US emigres to "do hacking and recruiting. Steele added that "Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian consulate in Miami."
Except that's a lie - as Kavalec debunked the assertion in a bracketed comment: "It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami."
Steele had also been flagged flagged for admitting that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline, as his client was "keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8."
Notes and testimony from senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr make clear Steele admitted early on that he was “desperate” to get Trump defeated in the election, was working in some capacity for the GOP candidate’s opponent, and considered his intelligence raw and untested. Ohr testified that he alerted FBI and other senior Justice officials to these concerns in August 2016. -The Hill
Steele left his MI6 career to found his own company, Orbis Business Intelligence, with another former spy according to the Daily Mail.