In the furor surrounding the publication of the Simpson transcript last week, a number of people pointed to this line to talk about how credible the dossier is.
MR. FOSTER: Earlier you talked about evaluating the credibility of the information in the memoranda that you were being provided by Mr. Steele and, by way of summary, you talked about your belief that he was credible and that you had worked with him before and the information he had provided you had been reliable in the past. Did you take any steps to try to assess the credibility of his sources, his unnamed sources in the material that he was providing to you?
MR. SIMPSON: Yes, but I’m not going to get into sourcing information.
MR. FOSTER: So without getting into naming the sources or anything like that, what steps did you take to try to verify their credibility?
MR. SIMPSON: I’m going to decline to answer that.
MR. FOSTER: Why?
MR. LEVY: It’s a voluntary interview, and in addition to that he wants to be very careful to protect his sources. Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work.
That has been taken as a reference to Oleg Erovinkin, the former FSB General who died under mysterious circumstances on December 26, 2016. I myself have pointed to that death, repeatedly, as the one that could very credibly be seen as someone who could be one of the sources described in the dossier being assassinated in retaliation for sharing information with Christopher Steele. I absolutely agree that sharing the dossier with journalists, as Fusion did, could pose a real threat to Steele’s sources.
That said, Luke Harding, who had input from Steele on his book, reported that Erovinkin was not a Steele source.
Steele was adamant that Erovinkin wasn’t his source and “not one of ours.”
As a person close to Steele put it to me: “Sometimes people just die.” (101)
Frankly, if Erovinkin was one of Steele’s sources, I can understand why he’d lie about it. Though it’s also worth remembering that four Russians who allegedly have ties with the US were arrested on treason charges in December, so maybe Erovinkin was our source? So I won’t take Harding’s report as dispositive.
Bet let’s accept the premise that the Erovinkin death might be tied to the Steele dossier.
Let’s look at what Joshua Levy actually said. “Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier.”
Erovinkin died on December 26, 2016. The dossier wasn’t published by BuzzFeed until January 11, 2017.
If Erovinkin was, in fact, “killed as a result of the publication of this dossier,” then what Levy means is that he was killed as a result of reports from the dossier being reported by the press in September and October and November. He obviously couldn’t be killed in December for the only publication we know of that Fusion had no firsthand role in, the January BuzzFeed publication.