Trump Dossier Author Admits Source Was Fake News Stories Found Online
Christopher Steele says his source for the dossier was unverified stories from CNN users
Former British spy Christopher Steele has admitted that he used fake news stories he found online as sources for the now-infamous Trump-Russia dossier he authored.
In his stunning confession, Steele admits that a key source was a CNN website called "CNN iReport" that allowed users to upload unverified and unedited stories.
The site allowed anyone to publish articles, fabricated or not, without needing approval and without being fact-checked.
To put it into perspective, it works in the same way as any public forum, so using it as a source would equate to using a work of fiction that has been posted anonymously to a site such as Reddit or 4Chan.
In other words, any person could write anything – true, fiction or fantasy, and it could have been used as the material for the anti-Trump dossier.
This Trump dossier was then used as the pretense for FBI spying on Trump Team individuals and obtaining FISA warrants.
Steele made the shameful confession during a deposition last year in a case involving Russian tech entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev.
Gubarev claims his companies Webzilla and XBT Holdings were defamed by Steele after the dossier was published by BuzzFeed.
Steele was asked during the deposition how he verified allegations about Gubarev's companies and whether he found “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla,” according to the newly released transcripts of the deposition.
“We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport,” Steele said.
According to Fox News, CNN iReport, which appears to be no longer active -- though archives remain accessible online -- states that it’s a “user-generated site” and warns that “the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”
Even the site’s banner included the slogan “Unedited. Unfiltered. News.”
When asked whether the former British spy understood how the website actually worked, he confessed that “I do not have any particular knowledge of that” and noted he didn’t understand at the time that the site has “no connection to any CNN reporters.”
“Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” an examiner asked Steele.
He replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has [sic] some kind of CNN status.
"Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”
According to the archive copy of the iReports site, the website specifically notes that none of the users who submit content can be described as working for CNN.
“Being an iReport.com user and creating and uploading content to iReport.com does not mean that you work for CNN, and you should never represent yourself as working for CNN,” the site’s FAQ section read.
The dossier authored by Steele alleged that Gubarev's companies “used botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct 'alerting operations' against the Democratic Party leadership” and that Gubarev himself played a “significant” part in the operation while “under duress” from the Russian security agency FSB.
The latest revelation of using unconfirmed sources put the dossier’s legitimacy further into question, especially since the FBI extensively relied on the dossier in its warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking to surveil Trump aide Carter Page.
Steele and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence, were hired by Glenn Simpson's U.S. based company, Fusion GPS, to work on the dossier and promote its contents to journalists.
Fusion GPS received $1.8 million via the law firm Perkins Coie, with the money paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Surely Americans will wonder when the investigation into Christopher Steele begin and when will he be held accountable for the damage his actions have led to?