Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who was revealed to be the author of a controversial dossier on President-elect Donald Trump, has fled his home amid the backlash of his report being made public, and fears for his safety, The Daily Mail reported.
Steele, 52, is a former MI6 agent who now runs the private Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. in London. He reportedly prepared the dossier on Trump at the request of Republicans running against him in the presidential primaries and later by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The unverified document quoted sources as saying Russia had obtained compromising personal and business information about Trump's activities in Russia the Vladimir Putin regime could have used against him for blackmail purposes.
Journalist Carl Bernstein, a co-author of CNN's report on the dossier, said Wednesday it was obtained by a former British ambassador, who forwarded it to Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain last year. McCain said Wednesday he passed it along to the FBI, which already had a copy.
The name of the former British ambassador was not released.
CNN reported on the dossier Tuesday, but did not include details, since they had not been verified. The cable news channel did say, however, it had confirmed the nation's intelligence leaders had briefed both Trump and President Barack Obama on it last week.
At a press conference Wednesday, Trump blasted CNN – and BuzzFeed, which posted the full documents – for engaging in "fake news" put together by "sick people."
BuzzFeed was forced to defend its decision to publish the 35-page document, which it had admitted had not been verified and contained obvious errors. Among them, Trump pointed out, was the fact it claimed his lawyer Michael Cohen had met with Russian officials on multiple occasions, including in Prague. Cohen said he has never been to Prague, and produced his passport to Trump, showing he was not there at the time the dossier claims.
Other news organizations, including The New York Times, declined to publish the documents, saying they could not be verified.
Steele has left his London home, The Mail reported, fearing anger over the matter by Russia.
Though Steele is no longer a British agent and compiled the dossier for his private company, the U.K. government was nonetheless concerned the matter could damage relations with the incoming administration, and British security services attempted to block news agencies from reporting Steele's name.
Steele was posted in Britain's Moscow embassy in 1990.
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