We also know that Steele investigated the case of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian defector who was assassinated — allegedly by the Kremlin — with a deadly radioactive poison in London in 2006. Steele knows only too well what happens to people who get in Putin’s way. Yet even this awareness didn’t divert him from his path as he began to expose the Trump-Russia nexus. There was a reason why he and his family went into hiding when his name was first made public last year.
The risks are real. Some Moscow-watchers have followed the grim fates of a number of senior Russian officials who were likely involved in Operation Donald Trump. In early 2017, Oleg Erovinkin, an aide to Gazprom CEO Igor Sechin (arguably the second-most powerful man in Russia), mysteriously died in the back of his car. (Steele’s reporting offers considerable detail about Page’s links with Gazprom, Russia’s energy giant.) After Steele took his reporting to the FBI, two key officials in the cyber department of the FSB (Russia’s security service, and a successor of the KGB), as well as another cybersecurity expert, were arrested and spirited away. They haven’t been heard from since.