A former top FBI cybersecurity official has been traveling the world over the past six months in an effort to confirm aspects of the controversial dossier on President Trump for BuzzFeed News, Foreign Policy reports. Anthony Ferrante now works for FTI Consulting, which was reportedly hired by BuzzFeed's lawyers after the publication was sued by Russian billionaire Aleksej Gubarev for libel. "If it's fact, it's not libel. That's the idea," said one person familiar with the decision by BuzzFeed's attorneys.
Gubarev is mentioned in the dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which BuzzFeed published in January 2017. The dossier has come under intense scrutiny due to its role in the FBI's obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The dossier, which began as Republican opposition research before later being funded by actors connected to Hillary Clinton, alleges a number of Trump campaign associates corresponded or met with Russian officials about dropping sanctions against Moscow if Trump won the election. It additionally alleges that Russia has compromising information on Trump that could be used to blackmail him.
"At FTI, Ferrante launched what's now been a months-long stealth effort chasing down documents and conducting interviews on the ground in various countries around the world," Foreign Policy reports. "His team directed BuzzFeed lawyers to subpoena specific data and testimony from dozens of agencies or companies across the country and assembled a cyber ops war room to analyze that data, according to sources familiar with the work."
Ferrante worked at the FBI from 2005 through April 2017, and was involved in the U.S. response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Read more about the quiet effort to verify the Steele dossier at Foreign Policy. Jeva Lange