Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled a controversial dossier on President Donald Trump, has been told information on him that had originally been redacted has now been declassified and will be included in the Justice Department inspector general’s report Monday, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Steele was informed before midnight in the UK on Sunday that the additional material would be contained in the report’s final draft, according to a source close to his corporate intelligence company Orbis. Steele was not told what the new information would be and was not given an opportunity to respond before the report’s publication, the source added and a second source confirmed.
Attorney General William Barr made the unusual decision to declassify additional information on Steele, The New York Times first reported.
Steele spent two days meeting with representatives of the Justice Department in London to voluntarily cooperate with their probe in June this year and followed up with further conversations via Skype. Orbis also provided the inspector general with access to its internal documents and memoranda of its meetings with the FBI since the firm’s relationship with the bureau began in 2013.
Orbis had a chance to review 50 pages of the report pertaining to Steele and his firm last week and highlighted numerous mistakes and inaccuracies, in particular with Steele’s characterization in some parts of the report as a “confidential human source” rather than as a contractor, according to material prepared by Orbis and seen by CNN.
A person close to Orbis told CNN the decision to publish extra material in full showed a “lack of integrity” and was an “affront to natural justice.”
“The fact that so many mistakes were identified previously gives us no confidence that this new material will be any more reliable,” the person said.
Among the submissions to the probe by Steele is an undated letter, which the source close to the company said was drafted in August 2013, to the British government seeking permission to sign a contract with the FBI upon the bureau’s instigation for providing intelligence services.
The letter, signed by Steele, says “we are keen to take up this opportunity to win an important new client, with long-term potential and a wide range of Russian and global requirements.”
“We would anticipate some contact with the FBI representative in London as part of this arrangement, of which the CIA chief of station would be aware,” it says.
Based on what Orbis believed was a final draft of the inspector general’s report, it had planned to thank the department for being treated “with dignity and respect,” according to a statement drafted last week for release later Monday.