There has been an avalanche of support for Steele's credentials in the British press over the past two days, the cumulative effect of which has been to add credibility to the unproven allegations against the US president-elect.
Here are some key things we now know about Steele:
Steele was head of MI6’s Russia desk. He worked at Britain's intelligence service for years and was a highly regarded specialist on Russia, according to The Guardian. He served in Paris and Moscow in the 1990s before retiring. He now runs the intelligence company Orbis Business Intelligence with Christopher Burrows, a former British Foreign Office counsellor.
He has a network of sources in Russia. The New York Times said he was known for "his knowledge of the intricate web of Kremlin-tied companies and associates that control Russia." He called on these contacts to compile the allegations against Trump.
Steele has been trusted by the FBI and others with sensitive work.Reuters reported that the intelligence expert supplied the FBI with information on corruption at football's world governing body, FIFA, in 2010. He also gathered intelligence on Russia for England's 2018 World Cup bid. Russia ultimately triumphed during the bidding process.
He has friends in high places. Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow who helped alert US intelligence to the dossier, said Steele was a "very competent professional operator."
Well that doesn't sound like the sort of professional who simply traffics in gossip and innuendo.
Which was also the conclusion of David Corn who writes for Mother Jones, who interviewed Steele and had this to say:
I also was able to review the memos the former spy had written, and I quoted a few key portions in my article. I did not report the specific allegations—especially the lurid allegations about Trump's personal behavior—because they could not be confirmed. The newsworthy story at this point was that a credible intelligence official had provided information to the FBI alleging Moscow had tried to cultivate and compromise a presidential candidate. And the issue at hand—at a time when the FBI was publicly disclosing information about its investigation of Hillary Clinton's handling of her email at the State Department—was whether the FBI had thoroughly investigated these allegations related to Russia and Trump. I also didn't post the memos, as BuzzFeed did this week, because the documents contained information about the former spy's sources that could place these people at risk.
When I spoke with the former spy, he appeared confident about his material—acknowledging these memos were works in progress—and genuinely concerned about the implications of the allegations. He came across as a serious and somber professional who was not eager to talk to a journalist or cause a public splash. He realized he was taking a risk, but he seemed duty bound to share information he deemed crucial. He noted that these allegations deserved a "substantial inquiry" within the FBI. Yet so far, the FBI has not yet said whether such an investigation has been conducted. As the former spy said to me, "The story has to come out."
At first the former spy was working for Republicans looking for dirt on Trump, but after the election they no longer seemed to care. However Streele himself felt that the information was too important to keep secret so he started looking for ways to disseminate it pro bono.
Here was his reasoning:
Mr Steele also decided to pass on information to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that such material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Mr Trump, who had hired his services, but was a matter of national security for both countries.
However, say security sources, Mr Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
It should also be noted that Steele was the agent who exposed the corruption within FIFA, a scandal that had international repercussions. Which only cements his reputation as a very professional and capable investigator.
Of course since all of this has come out this gentleman has gone underground, and there are reports that he is "terrified for his family's safety."
Maybe it's just me, but it seems that if this man was willing to sacrifice so much to get this information exposed to the public, that it behooves various media outlets around the world to at the very least work hard to either confirm or denounce it.
Right now it appears that Penthouse magazine might be taking the lead on that front:
Adult magazine Penthouse has received three claims for its $1 million offer to anyone who could provide real tapes of President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged and unproven sexual escapades at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, the publication’s editor exclusively revealed to International Business Times Thursday.
I for one don't think this story is dead yet, and I am more than a little interested in seeing where it goes.