Control vs. Kaos

Espionage writer Raelynn Hillhouse and her intelligence sources are marveling at the ineptitude of the spies who murdered former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

few days ago an expert in the field called the spies’ tradecraft "really amateur hour."   With recent the recent developments, she wrote me back, "This has gone well past the Austin Powers level to Get Smart.   And when they finally trace it back to the FSB First Chief Directorate’s offices, it will be a cinch for the Inspector Clouseau Award."

There must be easier… and certainly more subtle…ways to kill a man than irradiating half of London and two British Airways jets.

5 thoughts on “Control vs. Kaos”

  1. As you know, as a mystery writer, when a murder is this sloppy, it’s either (a) due to incompetence; (b) meant to send a message; or (c) an attempt to frame the apparent perpetrator

  2. I’ve been thinking the same thing. Without doing much research I could come up with half a dozen ways to poison these people using products I bought at the grocery store or the hardware store and not have to resort to something as relatively exotic as radioactive isotopes.
    It occurs to me that if the guy who died hadn’t been a former KGB agent, law enforcement would call it an ineffective terrorist attack. It would be a hell of a coincidence, though, wouldn’t it?

  3. wouldn’t it be a hell of a plot twist if Litvinenko wasn’t the primary target after all, but simply ‘collateral damage’ in an attempt to get to someone he was close to? A supreme act of misdirection: a force to put our attention in one spot when the real story is happening somewhere else?
    *Hey, my dad read us Gorky Park as a bedtime story. Paranoid cold war conspiracy plots come very easily!*

  4. What was so incompetent about it?
    Sure, the world knows the KGB (or whatever is left of it) did it…. but isn’t that the point? It was cheaper than buying advertising space on the front page of every major newspaper in the world to proclaim the headline “IF YOU OPPOSE RUSSIA, WE WILL KILL YOU.”
    They can track the material used in the murder to a specific reactor in Russia? So what?
    Remember the anthrax attack in the USA just after 911? Well, it was tracked back to a specific US laboratory. The result? The laboratory got more money.


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