Magazine June 24, 2019, Issue

Steele’s Shoddy Dossier

President Donald J. Trump (Jim Young/Reuters)
Its claims were absurd, its evidence unconvincing — why did government officials ignore so many red flags?

Could former Obama-administration intelligence chiefs run any faster from the Steele dossier? “Pseudo-intelligence,” scoffs former national intelligence director James Clapper in his new memoir — after having arranged for the dossier to be included in a briefing of then-president-elect Trump, ensuring it would be published by the media. John Brennan, the former CIA director, belittles the dossier as uncorroborated reporting never refined into an authentic intelligence-agency product — and hopes we don’t notice his behind-the-scenes stoking of the dossier’s explosive allegations during the 2016 campaign. “Salacious and unverified,” sniffs former FBI director James Comey — after his bureau repeatedly relied

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