Brit behind Donald Trump dossier flees home 'terrified for his safety'

Donald TrumpDonald Trump.Reuters

LONDON - The former British intelligence officer behind the memos on Donald Trump's links to Russia has been unmasked - and now he fears for his life.

Christopher Steele, a 52-year-old former MI6 officer, was named on Wednesday evening as the man responsible for creating the dossier of explosive allegations, which President-elect Trump branded as "fake news."

According to The Daily Telegraph, Steele fled his home amid fears for his safety. A source close to Steele told the newspaper that he is worried about a dangerous backlash against him from Moscow.

His 35-page report contained unverified claims about Trump's activities in Russia and campaign coordination with Kremlin officials. Steele's findings were apparently based on conversations he had with Russian intelligence sources. It was financed by anti-Trump Republicans and later Democrats.

He is "terrified for his and his family's safety," the Telegraph said. It added that a neighbour had confirmed that he has fled his Surrey home. "He asked me to look after his cat as he would be gone for a few days," said the neighbour. "I'm not sure where he's gone or how to contact him."

Steele is a director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, a private security and investigations firm. He has a good reputation in the intelligence community and spent years stationed in Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The full Trump dossier was published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday. Trump lashed out at the website in his first press conference in 169 days on Wednesday, calling it a "failing pile of garbage." He added: "It's frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible for a left-wing blog that was highly hostile to the president-elect's campaign to drop highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before he takes the oath of office."

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