To very little fanfare in the US media, it has been reported that "Trump Dossier" author, Christopher Steele, has been ordered to pay compensation to two Russian bankers who he made allegations against.
While the dossier was infamously treated like the Gospel in America in the early days of the Trump Administration, the British court determined that Steele failed to properly vet information he presented to spy masters in the US & UK.
From Just The News:
A British judge ruled Wednesday that Christopher Steele violated a data privacy law by failing to check the accuracy of information in his infamous dossier, ordering the former spy’s firm to pay damages to two businessmen he wrongly accused of making illicit payments in Russia.
Justice Mark Warby of the High Court of England and Wales ordered Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, to pay a modest 18,000 English pounds – about $22,596 in American currency – each to Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman as compensation for a violation of Britain’s Data Protection Act 1998 .
Warby ruled that while Steele had a national security interest to share his intelligence with U.S. and British authorities, several of the allegations in Memo 112 of the Steele dossier were “inaccurate or misleading as a matter of fact.”
The judge ruled Steele violated the law by failing to aggressively check the accuracy of one claim accusing Aven and Fridman of making illicit payments to Russia President Vladimir Putin before distributing it to various U.S. and British figures, including the FBI.
“That is an allegation of serial criminal wrongdoing, over a prolonged period. Even in the limited and specific context of reporting intelligence for the purposes I have mentioned, and despite all the other factors I have listed, the steps taken to verify that proposition fell short of what would have been reasonable,” Warby ruled.
“The allegation clearly called for closer attention, a more enquiring approach, and more energetic checking,” the judge added.
The ruling involves a long-discredited claim in Steele’s dossier – repeatedly used by U.S. news media – that Russia’s Alfa Bank, connected to Aven and Fridman, was transmitting secret messages between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
The FBI concluded the computer pings were not nefarious messages but rather routine behavior most likely connected to email spam. Special Counsel Robert Mueller told Congress last year he did not believe the allegations."
The Washington Examiner also provides further context into the potential genesis of the dossier, as presented in the British court.
Let me give you a hint.
The client could be seen stumbling around NYC during the '16 Election and shoved into her van by the Secret Service:
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report shows Steele also pushed the now-debunked claim that Alfa Bank was a secret conduit between Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and the Kremlin during an early October meeting with State Department figures Jonathan Winer and Kathleen Kavalec. Steele also told DOJ official Bruce Ohr in late September the Alfa Bank server was a link to the Trump campaign and that the Russia-American organization belonging to “Person 1” used the Alfa Bank server two weeks prior.
Horowitz criticized the Justice Department and the FBI in December for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the FISA warrants against Trump campaign associate Carter Page in 2016 and 2017 and for the bureau's reliance on Steele’s unverified dossier. Robert Mueller said his special counsel investigation “identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign” but "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
The British judge reached other conclusions in his 57-page ruling.
“Mr. Steele’s evidence is that he now believes the Ultimate Client was the Democratic National Committee,” Justice Warby said. “[Steele’s lawyer] Mr. Millar submits that the Ultimate Client was the Clinton election campaign, ‘Hillary for America.’ This is in line with the FBI Note of 5 July 2016, which records Mr. Steele telling the FBI that Orbis had been instructed by Mr. Simpson of Fusion and ‘Democratic Party Associates’ but that ‘the ultimate client were (sic) the leadership of the Clinton presidential campaign.’ The FBI Note also indicates that Mr. Steele had been told by that stage that Mrs. Clinton herself was aware of what Orbis had been commissioned to do.”
The judge added that Steele knew his dossier might be used to "challenge the eventual outcome of the Presidential Election.”
Steele testified in March that he met with Michael Sussman and Marc Elias, two top lawyers for the Perkins Coie law firm which represented the Clinton campaign and the DNC, in 2016.
He testified Sussman provided him with the claims about Alfa Bank’s purported ties to Putin during a late July meeting. These allegations made their way into a mid-September 2016 memo that became part of Steele’s dossier, although Steele repeatedly misspells “Alfa” as “Alpha.” Shortly after writing that memo, Steele met with Elias, who was the general counsel for Clinton’s campaign and personally hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS in April 2016. Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson hired Steele in June 2016.
“I’m very clear that the first person that ever mentioned the Trump server issue, Alfa server issue, was Mr. Sussman," Steele told Alfa Bank's lawyers in March. Steele also said, “I was given the instruction sometime after that meeting by Mr. Simpson."
Well, I'll be...
Sadly, of course, this is information we've all known or suspected for quite some time.
This should be front page news.
Finally, foreign interference we can sink our teeth into!
But sadly, we all know what the coverage will be.