Who was that masked source?

Picking up from where I left off yesterday in “Jim Sciutto’s got plenty of nothing,” I want to invite readers to take a look at the Trump/Steele dossier for themselves. I have embedded it at the bottom of this post.

Consider that the dossier was bought and paid for by the Clinton presidential campaign through the campaign’s general counsel at the Perkins Coie law firm, which contracted Fusion GPS, which contracted former British MI-6 officer Christopher Steele at Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd. Why the cutouts? One might get the impression that the dossier was not to be traced to the Clinton campaign.

Steele was supposed to produce opposition research in the style of an intelligence operation. Drawing on his professional background, he called in part on the friends of Vladimir Putin to deliver the goods on Donald Trump. Steele refers to them in his memos as Source A (“a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure”) and Source B (“a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin”) and the super mysterious Source E (“an ethnic Russian” and “close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump”). Steele reported that the friends of Vladimir Putin apprised him of Russia’s efforts to intervene on behalf of Donald Trump in the presidential campaign.

Why, you might ask, would the friends of Vladimir Putin entrust Christopher Steele with the goods on Russia’s alleged efforts to intervene on behalf of Donald Trump in the presidential campaign? I have not seen a good answer to that question.

Today in dossier news Byron York reports:

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has issued a subpoena to David Kramer, a former State Department official who, in late November 2016, traveled to London to receive a briefing and a copy of the Trump dossier from its author, former British spy Christopher Steele. Kramer then returned to the U.S. to give the document to Sen. John McCain.

Kramer is a senior fellow at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

McCain later took a copy of the dossier to the FBI’s then-director, James Comey. But the FBI already had the document; Steele himself gave the dossier to the bureau in installments, reportedly beginning in early July 2016.

McCain, recovering in Arizona from treatments for cancer, has long refused to detail his actions regarding the dossier. For his part, Kramer was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee on Dec. 19. The new subpoena stems from statements Kramer made in that interview.

In the session, Kramer told House investigators that he knew the identities of the Russian sources for the allegations in Steele’s dossier. But when investigators pressed Kramer to reveal those names, he declined to do so.

Byron has more, all of it worth reading. Byron’s reporting tactfully raises the question whether the dossier reflects a Russian disinformation operation. Paraphrasing committee investigators, Byron wonders whether it is “likely that all the Russians involved in the attempt to influence the 2016 election were lying, scheming, Kremlin-linked, Putin-backed enemies of America – except the Russians who talked to Christopher Steele?” Now that is a good question.

Whatever the case, at this point that one would have to be a knave or a fool to take the Steele dossier at face value. Given the interests involved, however, there is no shortage of either.

Here, in case you haven’t seen them before, are the memos that constitute the Steele/Trump dossier.

Trump Intelligence Allegations by Grant Stern on Scribd