Hillary Clinton in Cheltenham, Britain, on Oct. 15. (Rebecca Naden/Reuters)

With regard to Christopher Steele's dossier imbroglio and collusion, the American public deserves to know the difference between the alleged Trump collusion with Russia and the dossier compiled by Steele ["Facing heat on Russia, Trump hits at Clinton," front page, Oct. 30]. 

The Trump campaign allegedly worked hand in glove with the Russian government to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to affect the U.S. election, which I believe is clearly illegal. The dossier by Steele was classic espionage against the Russian government paid for initially by unnamed Republicans and later (after Donald Trump was nominated) funded by Democrats to collect opposition data on Trump. These actions are on opposite ends of the data collection spectrum. Collusion is cooperating collectively toward a given end, especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. Espionage is the collecting of information against the will of the target (i.e., Russia). Big difference in intent. If the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, that is illegal. Paying Steele to conduct espionage to collect what the Russians may have had on Trump is not, but it may be of national security import by, for example, exposing a U.S. president to blackmail.

Frank Nekoba, Alexandria