Sunday, August 5, 2007

The bad guys

The glaring but largely overlooked message in the radiation poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is that the underworld has become expert in effectively using radioactive materials for malicious purposes.
This is the first example of real or attempted radiological crime or terrorism where the perpetrators were true experts. This case should alter government's perception of radiological terrorism in the same way that 9/11 affected their overall perception of terrorism.
The plan to kill Litvinenko quietly by internal radiation poisoning required substantial expertise, especially in choosing the right radioactive material to implement the plan. Hundreds of radioactive substances exist; many are more easily attainable than polonium-210 and are more widely known.