Skip to comments.Russia 'backed Litvinenko murder'
Posted on 07/08/2008 12:34:15 AM PDT by Schnucki
The murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was carried out with the backing of the Russian state, Whitehall sources have told the BBC.
A senior security official told Newsnight there were "very strong indications it was a state action".
Mr Litvinenko, who was a fierce critic of former Russian President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned in London in 2006.
UK investigators suspect former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi of the murder, but he has always denied any involvement.
The BBC has been told that Russia's internal security organisation, the FSB, operated under Mr Putin with far more autonomy than the organisations usually entrusted with foreign espionage operations.
Our source said: "We very strongly believe the Litvinenko case to have had some state involvement."
Newsnight has also learned that officers at MI5 believe they thwarted an attempt last summer to kill another Russian dissident, Boris Berezovsky.
The BBC's source said the Berezovsky incident showed "continued FSB willingness to consider operations against people in the West".
And they claimed the targeting of Russian government critics in the UK had serious diplomatic repercussions, saying: "[It] messes up the relationship big time."
In November, head of MI5 Jonathan Evans expressed concern that there had been "no decrease" in the number of Russian covert intelligence officers operating in the UK since the end of the Cold War.
The service believes there are around 30 operating from Russian diplomatic missions here.
In May 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service formally submitted an extradition request to Moscow for Mr Lugovoi to stand trial in Britain.
That request remains current, but Russia has refused to cooperate saying it would be against its constitution to do so.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is thought to have raised the case as he held his first face-to-face talks with new Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at the G8 summit in Japan.
A senior security official told Newsnight there were “very strong indications it was a state action”. ==
Duh! And here I was thinking some random mugger had walked in the local chemist shop and bought a pinch pf polonium 210. It wasn’t called the “$30 million hit” for nothing.
Vladimir Ras-Putin should have shared the fate of Ceausescu when the Soviet Union fell. All top Commie leaders in Eastern Europe should have been liquidated, and the other Party members sent to the gulags they created, then given nice big "show trials" where they would have to publicly denounce socialism in all its flavors, then curse Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and all the other Soviet "saints." Then they should have been forced to dig up and spit on the mummies of Lenin and Stalin. Then they should have spent the rest of their lives as slave laborers building monuments and museums so future generations would know all about the socialist holocaust. Even after demonstrating penitence, they should have been banned from any participation whatsoever in politics.
I agree completely. There has been some recent articles by investigative journalist which claims there was no assassination at all. A simple case of polonium smuggling and accidental contamination. This makes the most sense to me since polonium is too expensive and too dangerous to the potential assassin to ever be considered a realistic choice for the purpose of assassination. If smuggling is involved it does bring up a rather more frightful scenario which explains why the Brits would rather take the murder angle.