A Spy by Any Other Name

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By Art Buchwald
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Doctors in London did everything they could to save a KGB (or ex-KGB) spy's life after they discovered that he was poisoned by the bad guys somewhere in the world.

There are a lot of spies who wouldn't come in from the cold.

Some papers on the left said the agent was still working for Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he may have been poisoned by the KGB.

A lot of the story has to do with money.

The victim, Alexander Litvinenko, was so underground that only a top few officials at American Express knew his real last name.

Scotland Yard does know this much: The poison used was not the metal thallium, which many spies prefer when poisoning other spies.

Most of these poisons turn up in spy stories and are used to move the plot along. Poisoning is a good way to do away with someone, particularly if there are photos to go with the story.

Who is Litvinenko and why did people want to poison him?

The British press has its own theories. The KGB had a contract on Litvinenko and Putin wanted to do him in to teach everyone in Moscow a lesson.

The first thing to do is show Litvinenko losing his hair. Once he is shorn of his hair, the oil and other business oligarchs will be taught a lesson.

Then there are those who are against the present Putin government. The opposition says the government stinks.

The poison could have come from anywhere -- Iran, North Korea or even the CIA.


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© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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