Litvinenko was working for UK, Spanish intelligence when he was killed

Alexander LitvinenkoBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A lawyer representing the family of a KGB defector to Britain, who died of poisoning in 2006, has told a court hearing in London that the late spy was working for British and Spanish intelligence at the time of his death. Alexander Litvinenko was an employee of the Soviet KGB and one of its successor organizations, the FSB, until 2000, when he defected with his family to the United Kingdom. He soon became known as a vocal critic of the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2006, Litvinenko came down with radioactive poisoning soon after meeting a former KGB/FSB colleague, Andrey Lugovoy, at a London restaurant. Speaking at a preliminary court hearing on Thursday, in light of an upcoming British government inquiry into Litvinenko’s death, Ben Emmerson, QC, said that the late Russian spy was a “registered and paid” asset of the Secret Intelligence Service. This is not the first time that Litvinenko has been linked to the SIS —known informally as MI6— Britain’s external spy agency. Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, made similar claims to the British press in January of this year. But yesterday’s testimony by her legal team provided the public record with further revelations about her husband’s connections with British intelligence. The court heard that Litvinenko received a regular stipend from MI6 either in cash or via electronic transfer and that he had been provided with an encrypted telephone, which MI6 used to contact him on a routine basis. The night before his poisoning, said Emmerson, Litvinenko had met his MI6 handler, who went by the operational alias MARTIN. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #721

Yuval DiskinBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►US spies clash with military over outsourcing spy satellites. Members of the US intelligence community and the military are finding themselves on opposite sides regarding the future of American spy satellites. Since the US first began using satellites to collect intelligence data, the government largely relied on its own technology. But in recent years, as private companies have developed sophisticated satellites of their own, Washington has been increasingly relying on commercial sources for spy missions. Now senior intelligence officials have urged the Obama administration to move away from relying on commercial satellite imagery.
►►Israeli ex-spy criticizes plans for war with Iran. Many Israeli retired officials have criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, but the censure from Yuval Diskin, who stepped down as head of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service last year, was especially harsh. “I have no faith in the prime minister, nor in the defense minister”, Diskin said in the remarks broadcast by Israeli media on Saturday. “I really don’t have faith in a leadership that makes decisions out of messianic feelings”. Speaking in New York, former Mossad Director Meir Dagan said simply that Diskin “spoke his own truth”.
►►Litvinenko’s widow still waiting for answers. In 2000, after Vladimir Putin became President of the Russian Federation, KGB/FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko fled with his family to the UK, where they claimed political asylum and, later, British citizenship. During his time in London, Litvinenko consulted for MI5 and MI6, worked at a corporate security agency, and wrote two books, including Blowing Up Russia, which alleged that the Russian apartment bombings of 1999 were organized by the FSB, to justify war with Chechnya and sweep Putin into power. He died in 2006 of radioactive poisoning. Six years on, Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, says she is still waiting for answers.

Ex-KGB spy Litvinenko was working for MI6 when he died

Alexander LitvinenkoBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Confidential documents leaked to the British press show that a leading medical examiner wants to reinspect the 2006 death of a former Soviet intelligence officer, in light of new revelations. Alexander Litvinenko was an employee of the Soviet KGB and its successor organization, the FSB, who in 2000 defected with his family to the United Kingdom. He soon became known as an increasingly vocal critic of the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2006, Litvinenko came down with radioactive poisoning soon after meeting a former colleague, Andrey Lugovoy, in a London restaurant. The latter is believed by British authorities to have assassinated Litvinenko “with the backing of the Russian state”. Although much of the case remains shrouded in mystery, an important new clue was added to the equation in October, when Litvinenko’s widow publicly admitted that her husband had been a paid employee of British intelligence services MI5 and MI6. Marina Litvinenko told British tabloid newspaper The Mail on Sunday that Alexander had advised both agencies on “combat[ing] Russian organized crime in Europe”. She had previously denied rumors that her husband had been working for British intelligence when he was killed —ostensibly by the Russian government. The revelation appears to have prompted a British coroner to request that the medical investigation into Litvinenko’s death be reopened. Documents leaked to The Mail on Sunday appear to show that Andrew Reid, a coroner at St Pankras Hospital in London, has formally requested that both MI5 and MI6 release all of their internal files on Litvinenko, in the context of a new investigation. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #615

Clair E. George

Clair E. George

►►Ex-KGB spy Litvinenko’s widow seeks donations. The widow of Alexander Litvinenko has appealed for donations to help expose her husband’s murderers. Marina Litvinenko said she has to know the truth about the Russian ex-KGB spy’s death in London on November 23, 2006. He died of radioactive Polonium 210 poisoning in London’s University College Hospital. He had fallen ill shortly after drinking tea during a meeting with former KGB contacts at a West End hotel.
►►Memorial ceremony for controversial CIA figure. Clair George, who died in August from cardiac arrest at 81, has a rare status in CIA lore. He was the first high-ranking agency official to be found guilty of felony charges while carrying out official duties. Despite the public outrage about CIA actions during the Iran-Contra affair, George remained a popular figure among agency alumni because they believe his loyalty never faltered.
►►Taiwan intelligence agency accused of wasting money. Taiwan’s military-intelligence body has come under fire after one of its agents returned as a Le Cordon Bleu-certified chef following a so-called undercover mission in France. The agent, whose U$42,000 tuition for the cooking classes in France was sponsored by the military, has now lent his Le Cordon Bleu certificate to someone else for a fee, according to reports.

News you may have missed #0131

  • CIA active in UK, British MPs told. Charles Farr, the head of the British Home Office’s office of security and counter-terrorism, told members of the British Parliament that Britain had a “very close” relationship with the US intelligence community and that “declared” CIA personnel are active in the British Isles. IntelNews readers have been aware since last January that the CIA has been conducting “unprecedented intelligence-gathering operations in Britain”.
  • Denmark’s military spy chief resigns amid soldier book scandal. The publication of a book by Thomas Rathsack, former member of Jaegerkorps, an elite army unit, which reveals systematic breach of Geneva Convention directives by members of the unit deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, has prompted the resignation of the country’s military intelligence chief. Tim Sloth Joergensen announced his resignation on Sunday.
  • Wife of poisoned Russian spy criticizes Moscow visit. The widow of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was assassinated by radiation poison in London, where he was living after defecting to the UK, has criticized the prospect of a visit to Moscow by Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. “That [Mr. Miliband’s] visit will take place exactly on the third anniversary of my husband’s poisoning is adding insult to injury”, said Marina Litvinenko.

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Ex-KGB agent, wanted for murder in Britain, to run for mayor

Lugovoy

Lugovoy

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Andrey Lugovoy, who is wanted in Britain for the 2006 murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, is poised to run for mayor in the Russian city of Sochi. British authorities believe that Lugovoy, who served in the KGB and in Russia’s Federal Protective Service (FSO) from 1987 to 1996, carried out the radioactive poisoning of Litvinenko, a former intelligence officer who had defected to the UK. Litvinenko, who was a vocal critic of former Russian President Vladimir Putin, came down with radioactive poisoning soon after meeting Lugovoy in a London restaurant. The latter is believed by British authorities to have acted “with the backing of the Russian state”. A victory by Lugovoy in next month’s mayoral race could potentially pose a diplomatic challenge for London, as Sochi will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. If he wins, therefore, the prime murder suspect will be expected to lead local officials in “welcoming the British team to the Games”. Britain’s Daily Telegraph notes that such a possibility could ultimately “lead to the first ever British boycott of an Olympic Games”. Read more of this post