Thallium or Just Bad Sushi? More on Litvinenko

The Litvinenko Affair gets more complicated. The Guardian is reporting via the Associated Press reports that London doctors are now saying that “thallium poisoning is an unlikely cause of [Litvinenko’s] current condition.” Well, isn’t that interesting. The entire article reads:

Doubts over cause of spy’s illness

Press Association

Tuesday November 21, 2006 5:58 PM

The illness of the Russian former security agent Alexander Litvinenko is unlikely to have been caused by thallium poisoning, the hospital doctors treating him have said.

Dr Amit Nathwani, the consultant caring for Mr Litvinenko at University College Hospital in London said further tests would be conducted to establish the cause of his condition.

The latest twist in the extraordinary Cold War-style saga came after a leading toxicologist claimed that Mr Litvinenko could have been poisoned with “radioactive thallium”.

In a statement, the hospital trust said: “Mr Litvinenko is being treated in the intensive care unit of University College Hospital so he can receive cardiac monitoring and specialist support in areas such as nutrition and pain relief.

“He can also be more effectively isolated to protect him against infection, following the damage to his immune system.

“We have requested toxicology tests to establish what poisoned Mr Litvinenko. Based on results we have received today and Mr Litvinenko’s clinical features, thallium poisoning is an unlikely cause of his current condition.

“Further tests will be carried out to establish whether or not there is a single cause for Mr Litvinenko’s condition.”

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights Reserved.

The question now becomes: What was the original source that said that Litvinenko was poisoned? And why was almost every news organ reporting the case (this blog included) was so willing to accept it without skepticism? More on this later . . .

Special thanks to F. Kriukov for alerting me to this story.