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New Yorker: How Ex-Spy's Life Became a 'Mess' for Helping an Ally

New Yorker: How Ex-Spy's Life Became a 'Mess' for Helping an Ally
Christopher Steele (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 05 March 2018 01:19 PM

It was former British spy Christopher Steele's sense of duty and obligation to an ally that compelled him to warn the U.S. about Russia's bad intentions ahead of the 2016 election, Jane Mayer writes in a wide-ranging biopic for The New Yorker.

Instead of receiving thanks from that grateful ally, Steele is embroiled in an American political saga that he predicted he would "take to my grave," Mayer wrote, adding that Steele is more Paul Revere than Benedict Arnold.

"His life is sort of a mess, at this point, thanks for American politics," Mayer said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, talking about her 15,000-word piece in the New Yorker detailing the origins and timeline of Steele's dossier linking President Donald Trump to Russia.

"He's really kind of a whistleblower who totally believed what he was saying … 'the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming,' and, contrary to the conspiracy theories, mostly no one listened," Mayer said on MSNBC.

Despite a long career in Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service as a Russian-trained expert, who lived there under cover and speaks fluent Russian, Steele is now mired in an American controversy that has him pegged as a partisan and leading actor in a charade to bring down a president, Mayer writes.

When Steele left MI6 for a private firm he co-founded with Christopher Burrows, they "both agreed it was a duty to alert U.K. and allied authorities if we came across anything with national-security dimensions," Mayer wrote in the New Yorker.

It was that pact that led Steele to prepare the 17 memos that would become the Trump dossier, all in an effort to fulfill his work for Fusion GPS and warn the FBI of what Russia was up to ahead of the impending elections.

"People have misunderstood that it's a collection of dots, not a connecting of the dots. But it provided the first narrative saying what Russia might be up to," former CIA officer John Sipher told Mayer.

But the man whose intel and tips led to the Justice Department's corruption investigation — and subsequent indictments — into the FIFA scandal now stands pilloried and the subject of a criminal referral to the same Justice Department.

"He had to have believed in himself or he wouldn't have subjected himself to the FBI … it's a good way to get into trouble," Mayer said on "Morning Joe."

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It was former British spy Christopher Steele's sense of duty and obligation to an ally that compelled him to warn the U.S. about Russia's bad intentions ahead of the 2016 election, Jane Mayer writes in a wide-ranging biopic for The New Yorker.
christopher steele, spy life, the new yorker, donald trump, russia
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2018-19-05
Monday, 05 March 2018 01:19 PM
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