What is the motive for assassination attempts?
It is no surprise that our government believes that Russia is still carrying out state sponsored murder. Many nations carry out state sponsored murder and call it war. The real issue with the current situation in the UK is that the perpetrators used a military grade nerve agent. Had they simply shot someone the response would have been much smaller because in our strange world, the way one is killed is often more important than the murder.
So why use a chemical agent? We often make the mistake of believing that foreign powers and peoples think the same way that we do, that they have the same access to police detection techniques and that they always care about the consequences of their actions. In reality they don’t. When someone in Foreign Intelligence is asked to come up with an untraceable method of assassination he tries to get very smart and complicated.
He obtains a small amount of nerve gas that is non-persistent; (it disperses quickly into the atmosphere). He gets a technician to place the substance into a small aerosol can with hot sauce written on the outside. He flies it into a country in a diplomatic bag and instructs an agent to persuade someone that he is having a laugh with his pal’s pizza and gives the food a quick squirt.
The agent has time to return to his embassy and be out of the country long before any investigation is complete.
Consequences, a lot of noise for a few months, the people struggle to travel abroad, bananas are more expensive and life goes on. Perhaps some diplomats are expelled and trade deals slow down until someone finds a third party to do the deal for them on distant shores.
Motive is the big question, what was the agent involved in that made it necessary to kill him? Who was he a threat to today? How was he being used by British Intelligence? We will probably never know but rest assured that there are wheels within wheels when spies get murdered. When they get murdered with nerve agents it is approved at the highest levels.
The authorities already have a good idea who is responsible for the attempted murders (in this case) and know the method. What the public don’t know is the motive but somewhere inside British Intelligence I think they know that too.