Expert on Russian Spies Shot near Washington DC

This weekend news broke that Paul Joyal, a former Senate intelligence committee security director, was critically wounded in shooting near his home in Prince George County, Maryland – a suburb of Washington DC. Mr. Joyal had recently appeared on television accusing the Kremlin of direct involvement in the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. At this time it is not clear who made the attempt on Joyal’s life.


From the New York Times:

The shooting occurred four days after the critic, Paul M. Joyal, warned on “Dateline NBC,” the television news magazine, that 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.” Mr. Joyal was speaking about the poisoning of Alexander V. Litvinenko, a K.G.B. defector, who was poisoned last fall in London. A spokesman for the Prince George’s County police department declined to say whether the police viewed the shooting as a reprisal or a coincidence. The spokesman, Cpl Clinton Copeland, said the police had “a vague description of two black males” fleeing the scene. Federal authorities were leaning toward the view that Mr. Joyal was the victim of a street crime unrelated to his opinions of Russia, said a federal law enforcement official. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is incomplete, said the crime scene did not point toward professional assassins. Mr. Joyal, 53, who was shot in the groin outside his home in Adelphi, Md., was in stable condition on Saturday, the police said. Mr. Joyal was an aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee from 1980 to 1989 and edited a business newsletter about Russia throughout the 1990s. He has criticized President Vladimir Putin of Russia for reversing democratic reforms and was quoted several years ago as saying Mr. Putin “had a very mediocre career” as a spy. In the mid-1990s, Mr. Joyal went into business with Oleg Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who became a leading K.G.B. critic and moved to Washington. They worked on a joint venture between AT&T and a Russian telephone company, Mr. Kalugin said, and remained friends after the effort went bankrupt in 1999. They met Thursday afternoon at a restaurant next to the International Spy Museum in downtown Washington. They talked about business and family, Mr. Kalugin said. Soon after Mr. Joyal arrived home at 7:30, Mr. Kalugin got a panicked call from Mr. Joyal’s wife, Elizabeth, who had found her husband shot in the driveway. “She called me and said, ‘Oleg, Paul is shot, I want to warn you,’ ” Mr. Kalugin said. “I couldn’t believe my ears.” Despite Ms. Joyal’s warning and his dim view of the K.G.B., Mr. Kalugin said, “My suspicion is that it’s not linked to anything international.” As described, he said, the crime did not bear the fingerprints of Russian agents. He also said their enemies’ list had more prominent names on it than that of Mr. Joyal. “If it had been me, that would be absolutely more understandable,” said Mr. Kalugin, who was convicted of treason in Russia in 2002. Mr. Joyal was featured prominently in the “Dateline NBC” segment about Mr. Litvinenko, who died in November after ingesting a rare radioactive substance called Polonium 210, the bulk of which comes from Russia. Mr. Litvinenko fled the country after accusing superiors of ordering him to kill Boris A. Berezovsky, a wealthy Russian businessman. Mr. Joyal told NBC that he believed Russian agents were behind his death. “This was a poison constructed for this murder,” he said. “This is not a mere criminal act.” His death followed those of several other prominent Kremlin critics, including Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist. Another person who appeared on the program, Daniel McGrory of The Times of London, died in London on Feb. 20, before the program was broadcast. He was 54 and MSNBC reported that the cause of death was a heart attack. While Mr. Joyal’s passion is Russia, he works in a separate area, at a Washington consulting firm, National Strategies, Inc., that advises corporate clients seeking to do business with state and local governments.

The Financial Times:

The FBI, which generally does not get involved in local police investigations, is assisting Maryland police in investigating the shooting, which occurred just days after Mr Joyal said he “absolutely” suspected that the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko with polonium-210, a radioactive isotope, involved the Kremlin. “Did Putin order it? We can’t say that. I would find it hard to believe that this information, whatever it may be, has not filtered its way up to the top,” Mr Joyal said on NBC television’s Dateline programme. Mr Joyal was shot in the groin outside his Maryland home just hours after meeting his friend Oleg Kalugin, a former head of KGB foreign counter-intelligence, for “happy hour” drinks at Zola, a bar housed in the same building as the International Spy Museum.