Christopher Steele: Russia is ‘at war’ with UK, says former British spy – whose alliances have been ‘threatened’

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Christopher Steele: Russia is ‘at war’ with UK, says former British spy – whose alliances have been ‘threatened’


Russian leaders believe they are “at war” with the UK and its allies, but Britain is failing to deter the threat, said a former spy who wrote an infamous brief on Donald Trump.

Christopher Steele, 57, said he even suspected Russian agents had left him a “business card.”

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Former British spy warns of Russia
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Alliances left as a threat

He said intruders put two wedding rings in his wife’s toiletry bag while on vacation in the Caribbean about 18 months after his name became the author of the file.

When asked what message he thought they were sending, the former MI6 officer said, “We know where you are. We can reach you. Don’t think you can hide from us. “

In his first UK television interview since his filing – alleging collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 US election – sparked a political earthquake in the United States, Mr. Steele also claimed:

• He had evidence of Russian hostilities against Britain, including in the Brexit referendum

• Moscow thinks it could possibly collapse the European Union

• His wife’s career as a Crown servant at the Foreign Office suffered from the fallout, with her decision to take early retirement.

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Steele made a series of serious statements in an exclusive Sky News interview

Mr Steele – once the best Kremlin expert in MI6, whose advice was sought by British officials long after leaving the service – has warned that Russian hostility is growing.

“There are serious people at the top of Russia who consider themselves at war with us,” he said, speaking in the library at Farnham Castle in his hometown.

“The fact that our politicians do not want to recognize or deal with this is a big problem. “

But Lord Mark Sedwill, Britain’s national security adviser until last year, said he believed political leaders recognized the Russian threat – a threat he said was “diversifying”.

“All the senior politicians I have dealt with … take any threat like this very seriously, they take national security seriously,” he said.

“They are worried about the impact on the democratic process. They are right to do so. “

President PutinSpokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on any allegations. The Kremlin has in the past denied all allegations of election interference and other hostile actions.

Christophe Steele
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Christopher Steele was interviewed by Deborah Haynes at Farnham Castle

Mr. Steele left the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), better known as MI6, in 2009, after a career spanning more than 20 years.

He started a private intelligence company called Orbis Business Intelligence in Farnham with another former spy, Christopher Burrows, 63.

In June 2016, they were hired – ultimately by a law firm representing Democrats – to study possible links between the Asset countryside and Russia.

Over the following months, Mr. Steele compiled a series of unverified reports, which included allegations of collusion and that Moscow had a compromising videotape of Mr. Trump.

A news site published the so-called dossier in January 2017, drawing angry denials from the then president-elect and forcing Mr. Steele and his family into hiding.

Christopher Steele and his wife
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The Steeles on vacation in the Caribbean

Mr Steele said the fallout from the fury “had deeply affected” the career of his wife, Katherine, who at the time was a Crown official at the Foreign Office.

“Basically it didn’t go well at all,” he said.

“She decided at one point that, yes, she should take early retirement, which she did. “

When asked how he was feeling, Mr. Steele said: “Pretty angry and disappointed – like she does. “

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development said: “The UK government has made it clear that it is not involved in the production of the dossier.

“We don’t comment on individual personnel issues. “

Mr. Trump called the Russian case a “hoax”, denied colluding with Moscow, and denounced the sex tape allegations as false. He also made fun of Mr. Steele as a “failed spy”.

Liz Harrington, the spokesman for the former president, said: “It was a lie to try to discredit our movement which is more powerful today than it has ever been. “

Mr. Steele said the Trump Project was only a fraction of the work Orbis did and still does on Russia.

People stand outside the Orbis Business Intelligence (C) office building where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Great Britain, January 12, 2016. REUTERS / Stefan Wermuth
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Orbis Business Intelligence in central London

Ahead of the Brexit vote in 2016, he said he was investigating the impact of alleged Russian interference in European countries.

When asked if he had ever discovered any evidence of hostile operations against Britain, he replied: “Yes”.

He said he would look at a range of different things.

“Everything from money from corrupt executives brought ashore and invested in strategic industries and the like, which is concerning, to potential attempts to fund parts of and meddling in the Brexit campaign,” [the] Scottish referendum, evidence of interference in that as well, ”he said.

“This which I consider hostile behavior, and we have certainly encountered this from time to time. “

Pressed on what kind of evidence he had, Mr Steele said: “I don’t have it at hand, but clearly part of the same playbook we’ve seen – so the money is channeled through. deniable channels and comes out the other side, technically legal. There was a whole bunch of loopholes. “

Mr Steele also alleged that Russia posed a risk to the enlarged unity of the European Union.

“I think they think they could possibly bring down the EU. ”

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