The Steele Dossier: Born in a D.C. Liberal Think Tank

Disclaimer: This article is not a summary of the Durham Report. That would take at least a quarter of the document’s 306 pages and resemble a Matryoshka Doll. The intent here is to substantiate the title. Occasional comments by the author are {bracketed}.  

The now infamous Steele Dossier was born in a Washington D.C. liberal think tank.  The Brookings Institution is just one among a host of such D.C. operations.

Wikipedia’s profile of Brookings reads: The Brookings Institution, often stylized as simply Brookings, is an American think tank founded in 1916. Located on Think Tank Row in Washington, D.C., it conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics (and tax policy), metropolitan policy, governanceforeign policyglobal economy, and economic development.”

D.C  think tanks come in all political flavors. The one that birthed the Steele Dossier occupies more than one political camp. Brookings has been cited by conservatives, liberals and unaligned alike.  But it mostly aligns with a progressive, liberal agenda.

Three leading Brookings players in the evolution of the Steele Dossier are pictured above, left-to-right: Fiona Hill; Igor Danchenko; and Christopher Steele. Hill is a naturalized American citizen born in England; Danchenko was born in Russia; and Steele was born in the Yemeni city of Aden when it was part of the British-controlled Federation of South Arabia.

All three appear in the Durham Report.  


On 14 October 2019, Hill offered testimony, in a closed-door deposition before a committee of the U.S. Congress, as part of the first impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.  

Hill went public on 21 November 2019, when she testified publically before the same body. Part of her testimony came “In response to a question from that committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, Hill stated: ‘The Russians’ interests are frankly to delegitimize our entire presidency…The goal of the Russians [in 2016] was really to put whoever became the president — by trying to tip their hands on one side of the scale — under a cloud.’” (Source)

{NOTE: At the end of this article, ask yourself if Hill was a willing party to the Steele Dossier scam, or an unwitting victim. Or, perhaps, some of both.}I]

In a 21 November 2019 article in The New Yorker entitled The Extraordinary Impeachment Testimony of Fiona Hill, the author fawns over Hill’s testimony by noting a few of her statements, including the following:

Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election, the Russia expert Fiona Hill said. ‘We are running out of time to stop them…Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did,’ Hill said. ‘This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.’”  

The New Yorker added:

“Hill was just getting started. Reading in a firm voice from her opening statement, she went on to say that Russia’s goal was to weaken the United States, partly by sowing internal dissent. ‘President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super pac’, she said. ‘They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.’” 

So, in Hill’s world, it’s the Russians who sow the seeds of division in America.

An 8 October 2021 Huffington Post article, entitled Democracy Is Done’ If Trump Wins White House In 2024, Warns Fiona Hill, reported that: “Fiona Hill, a former top analyst on the National Security Council, presented a chilling warning about Donald Trump in a Politico interview Friday.  ‘If Trump makes a successful return to the presidency in 2024, democracy’s done.’” {quote taken by HuffPo from a P0LITICO piece} 

So, in Hill’s world, Trump is the main threat to democracy.

Other references to Hill non-partisan persona quoted in the HuffPo piece include these three: 

(1)“Hill warned that a Trump White House return would be particularly dangerous because it would occur ‘on the back of a lie, a fiction’ that the 2020 election was rigged against him.”;

(2) “‘I was hoping that with the {her new} book, I might be able to reach out, because I’m not a partisan person, to people who care very much about the United States and about its democracy to really think about this long and hard,’ she told Politico.”; and,

(3)“‘What’s happening in the nation now is not about ideology. It is a manipulation of particular social issues — abortion, immigration, all kinds of issues. This America is looking dangerously like Russia,’ said Hill, an NSC expert on Russian and European affairs who testified Trump’s first impeachment trial.


Hill met Igor Danchenko when both were at Brookings where he worked from 2005 through 2010.  They collaborated with a third Brookings employee to write a paper on China and Russia.

So, for whom was Igor really working? 

Paul Sperry, writing for Real Clear Investigations on 1 June 2023, profiled Igor in an article entitled How the FBI Lost, Found, and Rewarded the Alleged Russian Spy Pivotal to Surveilling Trump.  In part, the article reads:

Twelve years ago, FBI agents in Baltimore sought to wiretap former Brookings Institution analyst Igor Danchenko on suspicions he was spying for Russia. But the counterintelligence analyst they were assigned to work with ‒ Brian Auten ‒ {a bit player in the Dossier drama} told them he could not find their target and assumed the Russian national had fled back to Moscow…Igor Danchenko: Suspected Russian spy was secretly groomed by Brian Auten of the FBI…paid $220,000 to target Trump. But Danchenko had not left the U.S., court documents show. He was living in the Washington area. In fact, he had been arrested in Maryland in 2013 by federal Park Police for being drunk and disorderly, something the FBI analyst could have easily discovered by searching federal law enforcement databases.”

The FBI closed its espionage case on Danchenko. Just a simple oversight by the Bureau? Or, was it an intentional oversight?

Auten would quickly rise to become the FBI’s top Russian analyst. In 2016 and 2017, he failed to properly vet the Steele dossier, a collection of salacious allegations created for Hillary Clinton’s campaign which sought to tie Donald Trump to the Kremlin, before clearing it as the central piece of evidence used by the FBI to obtain warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.”

It gets more embarrassing for the Bureau. 

“Working out of headquarters as a supervisor, Auten knew Danchenko helped Christopher Steele compile the dossier while living in the area. But instead of contacting the Baltimore agents, Auten secretly groomed him as an informant, arranging payments of $220,000 to target Donald Trump and his former aide Page. One result: Danchenko, the suspected Russian spy, falsely accused Page, a former U.S. Navy officer who had previously helped the FBI, of being a Russian spy in the dossier. Auten also never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about the FBI’s longstanding concerns about Danchenko.”

Sperry’s findings suggest that the FBI may either have been (A) a co-conspirator in the Steele Dossier and/or (B) merely practicing character imitations of the Keystone Cops.  Or, some of both.

In a matter-of-fact tone, CNN, in an article dated 4 November 2021, announced that the Russian analyst who was source for Steele dossier arrested and charged with lying to FBI.   

“Igor Danchenko, a Russian analyst who was a source for the 2016 dossier of allegations about former President Donald Trump, was arrested and indicted Thursday for allegedly lying to the FBI, as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation. He was charged with five counts of making false statements to the FBI, according to the indictment {linked here} that was unsealed Thursday, and faces up to five years in prison for each count.”

Then, on 18 October 2022, CNN, posted an article entitled Primary source for Trump-Russia dossier acquitted, handing special counsel Durham another trial loss, wherein CNN gleefully announced: “Igor Danchenko, the primary source for the infamous Trump-Russia dossier, was acquitted Tuesday of four counts of lying to the FBI in an embarrassing defeat for special counsel John Durham.

The corks were popping that day at CNN.

In D.C. and Northern Virginia, convicting anyone associated with the federal government and/or the DNC is…less than very rare.  It’s remarkable that a jury was even impaneled for the trial.

Durham’s indictment states that Igor had “…worked as a Russian analyst at ‘Think Tank-1,’ Brookings, from 2005 through 2010. Durham also stated ‘Think Tank Employee-1,’ identifiable as Hill, ‘introduced Danchenko to U.K. Person-1,’ Steele. The indictment said Steele ‘retained Danchenko as a contractor at U.K. Investigative Firm-1,’ Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence — in 2011.”

Therein resides the  three-way connection.

And who founded Orbis Business Intelligence? Christopher David Steele, the father of the dossier born at Brookings.  

A former MI-6 operative who once sat at the Russia Desk owned by Kim Philby

This article originally published at American Thinker. Reprinted here with permission.

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