Christopher Steele, the former British spy who created the anti-Donald Trump Russia “dossier,” used unverified information he found on a CNN website where users generated their own content, he told a court last year.
Fox News reported Saturday that Steele, testifying in a defamation lawsuit filed by Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev last year, said that he obtained information about one of Gubarev’s companies on “something called CNN iReport.” (The lawsuit was dismissed in December.)
As Fox News noted, CNN iReport, which is now apparently out of service, invited members of the public to submit their own content as a form of citizen journalism. The service contained a disclaimer (original emphasis):
The views and content on this site are solely those of the iReport.com contributors. CNN makes no guarantees about the content or the coverage on iReport.com!
iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post. Only the stories marked “On CNN” have been vetted by CNN for use in CNN’s global news coverage.
Lots of people argue about what constitutes news. But, really, it’s just something that happens someplace to someone. Whether that something is newsworthy mostly depends on who it affects — and who’s making the decision. On iReport.com, that is you! So we’ve built this site and equipped it with some nifty tools for posting, discovering and talking about what you think makes the cut.
CNN is known to have known about the contents of the dossier; then-FBI director James Comey warned President-elect Trump that CNN had the document and were looking for a “news hook.” Once Buzzfeed published it, CNN was quick to report on the dossier, and has continued to treat it as legitimate ever since in its effort to substantiate claims of Russian “collusion” with Trump, though the dossier’s main contentions have never been corroborated.
Ironically, at least some of the dossier’s content may have originated with CNN itself.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.