By Candace Rondeaux
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Federal and local law enforcement authorities are investigating a shooting in Prince George's County that critically injured a prominent intelligence expert who specializes in the former Soviet Union.
Paul Joyal, 53, was shot Thursday, four days after he alleged in a television broadcast that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the fatal poisoning of a former KGB agent in London.
Law enforcement sources and sources close to Joyal, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the motive for the shooting was unclear. But several sources confirmed that FBI investigators are looking into the incident because of Joyal's background as an intelligence expert and his comments about the Alexander Litvinenko case.
Joyal was shot by two men in the driveway of his house in the 2300 block of Lackawanna Street in Adelphi about 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The shooting was reported yesterday by Channel 4.
The identity of the shooters was unknown, and Prince George's police released few details about the incident. But sources close to the investigation and to Joyal said two men accosted Joyal as he stood in the driveway of his home, then shot him once in the groin.
Joyal's wife, who is a nurse, was at home at the time and ran to assist her husband as he lay bleeding in the driveway, the sources said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in critical condition yesterday.
The sources said it was unclear whether the gunmen were trying to rob him.
Joyal, who has long been an outspoken critic of the Putin regime, appeared in a segment on "Dateline NBC" Sunday about the Litvinenko case. Litvinenko's death from radiation poisoning has caused widespread speculation that Putin and the Russian government were involved, because Litvinenko was looking into the killing of a Russian journalist critical of the regime. Putin and Kremlin officials have repeatedly denied involvement.
In the "Dateline" interview, Joyal accused the Russian government of being part of a conspiracy to silence its critics.
"A message has been communicated to anyone who wants to speak out against the Kremlin: 'If you do, no matter who you are, where you are, we will find you, and we will silence you -- in the most horrible way possible,' " Joyal said.
Joyal, who is a member of the Prince George's law enforcement task force, is a vice president of National Strategies, a Washington-based government consulting firm. He founded his own company in 1991 and established joint ventures in telecommunications and air transportation in Russia and Georgia, according to the company's Web site.
He is well-known for his expertise on intelligence and terrorism and for his network of friends in the former Soviet Union, and he published a daily intelligence newsletter for 10 years that offered information on the former Soviet Union. In 1998, he was a lobbyist for the Georgian government in Washington.
Staff writer Eric Rich contributed to this report.