- 1. Career
Christopher David Steele is a British former intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. He ran the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London between 2006 and 2009. In 2009, he co-founded Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intelligence firm.
Steele became the centre of controversy after he authored a dossier for multiple clients, including an attorney associated with the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. The dossier claims, based on anonymous sources, Russia collected a file of compromising information on Donald Trump.
Trump and his allies have falsely claimed the U.S. intelligence community probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election were launched due to Steele's dossier. The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee concluded in an April 2018 report that the probe had been triggered by previous information from Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, and the February 2018 Nunes memo, written by staff members for that committee, reached the same conclusion.
Steele was recruited by MI6 directly following his graduation from Cambridge and worked for MI6 for 22 years. He worked in London at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1987 to 1989. From 1990 to 1993, Steele worked under diplomatic cover as an MI6 officer in Moscow, serving at the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow. Steele was an "internal traveller", surviving over thirty Aeroflot flights and visiting newly-accessible cities such as Samara and Kazan.
He returned to London in 1993, working again at the FCO until his posting with the British Embassy in Paris in 1998, where he served under diplomatic cover until 2002. The identity of Steele as an MI6 officer and those of a hundred and sixteen other British spies were revealed in an anonymously published list.
In 2003, Steele was sent to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan as part of an MI6 team, briefing Special Forces on "kill or capture" missions for Taliban targets, and also spent time teaching new MI6 recruits. Steele returned to London and between 2006 and 2009 he headed the Russia Desk at MI6
He served as a senior officer under John Scarlett, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), from 2004 to 2009. Steele was a counterintelligence specialist and was selected as case officer for Alexander Litvinenko and participated in the investigation of the Litvinenko poisoning in 2006. It was Steele who quickly realised that Litvinenko's death "was a Russian state 'hit'". Twelve years later, Russian double agent Boris Karpichkov alleged that Steele himself was included in a hit list of the Russian Federal Security Service, along with Sergei Skripal who was poisoned in 2018 by a binary chemical weapon Novichok in Britain.
Since 2009, Steele has not been to Russia or any other former Soviet states. In 2012, an Orbis informant quoted an FSB-agent describing him as an "enemy of Mother Russia". Steele has refrained from travelling to the United States since his authorship of the Steele dossier became public, citing the political and legal situation.
In 2012, Orbis was sub-contracted by a law firm representing Oleg Deripaska, who was also a "person of interest" to the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's election interference. Between 2014 and 2016, together with Bruce Ohr, Steele cooperated with the FBI's and Justice Department's unsuccessful efforts to flip Deripaska into an informant.