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More Of Steele Dossier Verified
Russian Tech Firm Used by Russian Spies
Webzilla's Aleksej Gubarev AP photo
United States District Court
Southern District of Florida
Miami Division CASE NO. 1:17-CV-60426-UU
ALEKSEJ GUBAREV, XBT HOLDING S.A., AND WEBZILLA, INC.,
BUZZFEED, INC. AND BEN SMITH,
Expert report of
Anthony J. Ferrante
FTI Consulting, Inc
By Ray Cunneff
March 14, 2019
Trump loyalists have been attacking the veracity of the "Steele Dossier" since its publication by BuzzFeed in January 2017. While most of the media coverage centered on the salacious details of an alleged encounter at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton between Trump and Russian prostitutes and the possible existence of what became known as a "pee-pee tape", the far more significant conclusion of the dossier was that Donald Trump had been cultivated and compromised into a Russian asset.
The dossier was comprised of a series of reports compiled in the summer and fall of 2016 by Christopher Steele, a former British MI6 agent who subsequently ran a firm that conducts investigations for businesses and other clients.
Parts of the dossier have proved prescient, primarily that the Russian government was working to get Donald Trump elected president, hardly an established fact when it was first presented by Steele in June 2016. But it has since been corroborated by the United States’ own intelligence agencies and by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The dossier’s depiction of Russian efforts to cultivate people in Trump’s orbit has proved broadly accurate as well.
Now another large portion of the dossier has been verified with the unexpected release of a report by a former FBI cybersecurity expert in a federal court in Miami. The report unsealed today was commissioned by BuzzFeed to fact-find elements of a lawsuit by Russian tech entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev who was named in the dossier, a lawsuit which was dismissed in December 2018 when the court found BuzzFeed’s decision to publish was protected under the law.
Gubarev’s companies, the Steele dossier claimed, used “botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.” The unsealed report found that his networks also appear to have been regularly used by cybercriminals and Russian agents to conduct other attacks, such as an assault on Ukraine’s power grid in 2015.
The expert report, written by Anthony J. Ferrante of FTI Consulting, Inc. verified the dossier on several key points, namely details of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election — and the Trump campaign’s complicity. It revealed evidence of Russian agents using networks operated by Gubarev to start their hacking operation during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Steele Dossier
Separating Fact From Fiction
The former KGB building (background)
Photo Illustration by Sean McCabe; Photographs From Ispice/Alamy (Stamp), By Victoria Jones
/PA Images/Getty Images (Steele), © A. Savin/Pictures From History/The Image Works
By Ray Cunneff
January 30, 2018
Trump zealots, primarily in the House of Representatives, are trying to link repeated FISA-court approved surveillance of Trump foreign affairs adviser Carter Page to the never-disproved "Steele dossier" when in fact the surveillance of Page began weeks before Christopher Steele was on the case.
By making that duplicitous linkage, they can then try to discredit the investigations as a "witch hunt", funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and claim political bias on the part of FBI and the Department of Justice to justify a purge of law enforcement and intelligence professionals.
So let's separate fact from fiction...
Christopher Steele was originally hired by Fusion GPS under a contract with "Never-Trump" Republican donor Paul Singer and his Washington Free Beacon website. The Clinton campaign took over the funding as "opposition research" once it became clear that Trump would be the GOP nominee and Singer refused to throw "good money after bad".
Steele's original assignment was a very simple question: "Are there (Trump) business ties in Russia”?" He had headed MI6’s Russia Station from 2004 to 2009 based in London and had maintained numerous, reliable sources - including “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” and “a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin.” And both of these inside sources claimed that the Kremlin had spent years getting its hooks into Donald Trump.
There were several other sources that had, in one way or another, had been either "close associates" of, or facilitators for, Donald Trump in Moscow.
One particularly talkative source, “an ethnic Russian” described in the dossier as a “close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump” told Steele that "there was a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between them [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership”.
The salacious details aside, provided in part by “a female staffer” at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel, for seven months Steele followed a trail marked by, as he then described it, “hair-raising” concerns.
He unearthed repeated, credible allegations of financial, cyber, and sexual misdeeds and escapades that led to an extremely alarming conclusion:
The Kremlin had not only “been cultivating, supporting, and assisting” Donald Trump for years but also had compromised the tycoon “sufficiently to be able to blackmail him.”
And that, more than anything else we've seen or heard amid all the accusations, deflections and mis-directions, explains why the Trump loyalists are so desperate to shut all inquiries down.