Steele and Skripal: A Unified Theory

The Steele dossier is the collection of gossip and fantasy about Donald Trump, put together by former Brit MI6 operative Christopher Steele during 2016 on the dime of the Democratic Party. It triggered the Russian collusion investigation of the past two years.

Sergei Skripal is a former Russian intelligence officer who spied for MI6 and got caught in 2006, went to jail for four years, and was then allowed to go to England as part of a spy swap. In March 2018, he and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting him from Russia, wound up in a hospital after being poisoned. MI6 says the toxin was nerve agent Novichok, administered by Russian agents, who smeared it on the doorknob of Skripal's home.

The Skripals recovered, says MI6, but have not been seen in public, and their current location is not known. In June 2018, two other British citizens were poisoned by Novichok contained in a perfume bottle they found in a trash bin. The connection with the Skripals is obscure.

The Russians denied involvement in the Skripal affair and pointed to a number of aspects of the story that make little sense. But it caused, and continues to cause, major disruptions in relations among Russia, the U.S., and Europe.

Recently, a writer named Michael Antony analyzed the case on a Russophile website, emphasizing the holes in MI6's version. (For example, the doorknob theory does not fit the timeline of the Skripals' movements that day, their physical reactions were not in accord with Novichok poisoning, people who came to their aid were not affected, Russian intelligence services are more competent than whoever did this, many nations besides Russia have Novichok, the Russians had no reason to kill Skripal, and so on.)

Most interesting is that Antony points out something omitted from most stories about the case. When Skripal went to England, Antony says, MI6 steered him to live in Salisbury. In Salisbury, there also lived a man named Pablo Miller, a retired MI6 agent who was prominent enough to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015 and who had served as Skripal's handler during his days as an MI6 spy. In 2018, Miller was working for Christopher Steele, a former boss in MI6 and the chief organizer of the Trump dossier via his private intelligence firm.