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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Litvinenko Possibly Targeted in '01

Retired Federal Security Service officer Alexander Gusak confirmed Thursday that an informant who was cooperating with Russian intelligence offered to kill Alexander Litvinenko in 2001.

"A source did approach me in 2001 and offer to bring me Litvinenko's head because he — Litvinenko — had done so much harm to me," Gusak said.

"I told him there was no point in doing it because Litvinenko had already exposed them all," Gusak said.

Gusak first made the claim in an interview aired Wednesday on BBC television's "Newsnight" program.

Gusak previously headed an FSB unit assigned to fight organized crime, and was Litvinenko's commanding officer. He now works as a lawyer in Moscow.

The former agent dismissed speculation that active Russian intelligence agents had murdered Litvinenko in an act of revenge.

"I am absolutely sure the killing was ordered by the United States, and by the CIA in particular," Gusak said.

The FSB and the Prosecutor General's Office declined to comment Thursday on Gusak's remarks.

Alexander Goldfarb, Litvinenko's former friend and business partner, said by telephone from London on Thursday that he was skeptical about Gusak's claim.

"I'm sure that if you had asked anyone in the security services what should have been done with Litvinenko, he would have told you that Litvinenko ought to be eliminated," Goldfarb said. "But no agent could get hold of the necessary amount of polonium-210 without orders from the authorities or high-ranking officials."