Four months after Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were allegedly poisoned by the ‘deadly’ nerve agent Novichok by what would appear to be the worst assassination squad ever, The Guardian reports that the British-based news agency Press Association claims UK police have identified the suspects.
A source with knowledge of the investigation told PA:
“Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time. They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian.”
So there you have it… case closed, right?
You may be able to notice our skepticism – it is shared by many, including Tory MP and UK Security Minister Ben Wallace, who tweeted: “I think this story belongs in the “ill informed and wild speculation folder”
I think this story belongs in the “ill informed and wild speculation folder”
— Ben Wallace MP (@BWallaceMP) July 19, 2018
Asked about the latest developments, Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said he is still awaiting official confirmation from Britain.
“These are media reports, unfortunately there are no official statements from the British side. I want to hear from Scotland Yard, from the Foreign Office. Many versions [published] in the newspapers are not confirmed at official level,” Yakovenko told journalists in Moscow.
As The Guardian notes, the news comes as an inquest is due to open on Thursday for Dawn Sturgess, 44, who died earlier this month, eight days after coming into contact with novichok. Police are working on the assumption that it came from the same batch used in the attempted murder of the Skripals in March. Her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, was left critically ill after also being contaminated by the nerve agent.
On Wednesday, a fingertip search began of Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury, one of the areas Sturgess and Rowley visited shortly before they fell ill.
The park and other locations in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury were cordoned off last month after the exposure of the couple to the nerve agent.
Searches of properties could last months after 400 items were recovered, officers warned, while waste and litter will be removed as part of the sweep of public areas.
All of which is fascinating given that when a terrorist attack (or school shooting) takes place anywhere in the west, we usually know within hours, if not minutes – thanks to the surveillance states’ all-seeing eyes – who the suspect is, what their favorite hobbies are, and what their motivation was.