A Death in London

 
 
 
   
Nuclear Policy Talks
Please join  the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs' Institute for International Science and Technology Policy for a discussion on:
 
A Death In London
 with Dr. Benjamin Garrett (recently retired FBI)
 
 
 
At 9:21 p.m., November 23, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko is pronounced dead at a London hospital. The cause of death is attributed to polonium-210, a radioactive material found sparingly in nature and, for the most part, difficult to obtain. Litvinenko, a former officer in the Soviet KGB and Russian FSB, had defected to Great Britain in 2000 and was living under a new identity, granted by the British government along with British citizenship. Under British law, an inquest is mandatory for any suspicious death. The death of Litvinenko qualifies.
 
On January 21, 2016, Sir Robert Owen, the British Crown Coroner for the Inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, publicly releases an unclassified version of the results of his inquiry. Owen's conclusions include a finding that Litvinenko was deliberately poisoned with polonium-210. Owen concludes that the polonium-210 was administered by Andrei Lugovoy or Dmitri Kovtun, two Russian citizens with no known association with radioactive or nuclear materials. Finally, Owen speculates that these two were acting on orders from senior-most levels of the Russian government, including the head of the FSB and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
 
On January 9, 2017, President Barack Obama orders the Treasury Department to take actions under the Magnitsky Act against Lugovoy and Kovtun, the two Russians named in the coroner's report, thereby denying them entry into the United States and forfeiting any assets held in the United States.
The death of Litvinenko raises many questions. He had been admitted to hospital in early November, but the reporting of polonium-210 in his system was delayed over a month, until 2 hours before his death. Why this delay? Issuing of the coroner's report was delayed until 9 years, 10 months, and 29 days after Litvinenko's death. Why this delay? And how do Lugovoy, Kovtun and the senior-most levels of the Russian government fit into the death of Litvinenko?
 

As the action taken by President Obama in early January against Lugovoy and Kovtun suggests, the death of Alexander Litvinenko continues to attract attention. 

 
Dr. Benjamin Garrett retired in 2015 from the FBI, where he served as the Senior Scientist for Weapons of Mass Destruction, Laboratory Division. While with the FBI, he served as the co-chairman, International Technical Working Group for Nuclear Forensics, and consulted for Interpol, Lyon, France, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria, on crime scene management. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Davidson College, North Carolina, and a doctorate in analytical biochemistry from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining the FBI in 2000, his career included service with the U.S. Army Chemical Corps, the Battelle Memorial Institute, and the U.S. Embassy-Moscow. He is the author of The Historical Dictionary of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2007), which is expected to be released in its second edition this fall.
 

The George Washington University - B12, Elliott School

1957 E St, NW, Washington, DC
 
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
4-5:50 pm
 
 
Please RSVP ASAP
This event is part of the Nuclear Policy Talks series