British intelligence officer behind Trump dossier reported to have fled his home

Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer who now runs an intelligence-gathering firm in London, has been identified as the author of the document

British intelligence officer behind Trump dossier reported to have fled his home

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during his first news conference of the year in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. | Image: Evan Vucci AP/Press Association Images

A former British intelligence officer behind the dossier containing explosive but unverified claims about President-elect Donald Trump has fled his home fearing for his life, a report says.

Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer who now runs an intelligence-gathering firm in London, has been identified as the author of the dossier, which alleges that Russia had amassed compromising material about the US President-elect.

Mr Trump, in a news conference, denounced the 35-page document as "nonsense", "fake news" and "phoney stuff".

Mr Steele, 52, fears a backlash from Moscow now that his name has been made public, the Daily Telegraph said.

He is "terrified for his and his family's safety", an unspecified source close to Mr Steele was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

According to the report, the former spy packed his bags, left his cat with a neighbour and fled his home in Surrey on Wednesday morning.

Mr Steele reportedly was a spy in Russia in the 1990s and has maintained several contacts there.

He serves as director of Orbis, a firm founded in 2009 by former British intelligence professionals.

According to its website, Orbis has a "global network" of experts and "prominent business figures".

The dossier dominated the news conference by Mr Trump in New York, his first in six months.

He suggested that spy agencies may have leaked the material and accused them of practices reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

The remark escalates tensions between Mr Trump and US intelligence agencies.

James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, said he had spoken with Mr Trump about the dossier and told the President-elect that he did not believe the leaks come from the US intelligence community.

On Tuesday night, BuzzFeed published the full dossier - a controversial decision since the claims are unverified. The website defended the move saying Americans "can make up their own minds".

Both President Barack Obama and the President-elect have received a two-page summary outlining the claims made in the dossier. The summary was attached to an intelligence report into Russian hacking.

News that Mr Trump and Mr Obama had received the summary was broken by CNN, prompting an angry reaction from Mr Trump during his news conference.