IMAGE: Paul Joyal
Dateline NBC
Paul Joyal
By Pete Williams Justice correspondent
NBC News
updated 3/3/2007 1:45:08 AM ET 2007-03-03T06:45:08

FBI agents say they are assisting police in suburban Washington who are investigating the shooting of a Russian expert — a man who spoke out on "Dateline NBC" last weekend and strongly suggested that remnants of the KGB were responsible for the bizarre poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko.

The Russian expert, Paul Joyal, was shot Thursday night as he got out of his car in front of his house in Adelphi, Md. Investigators in Prince Georges County say a witness claims to have seen two men running away after the shooting. Joyal remains hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the midsection. Authorities have not said whether they've been able to talk to him.

Joyal is a long-time consultant on security and Russian affairs. From 1980 to 1989, he was director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On last weekend's "Dateline," he said of Litvenenko's death: "A message has been communicated to anyone who wants to speak out against the Kremlin: 'If you do, no matter who you are, where you are, we will find you and we will silence you — in the most horrible way possible.'"

The shooting has certainly raised eyebrows, because Maryland police are well aware of Joyal's views regarding the Litvinenko death. But at this point, they have no evidence suggesting the shooting was anything other than an example of the rising crime rate in Washington's Maryland suburbs. Local investigators are highly skeptical that his shooting was anything other than street crime.

Video: Polonium-210 In an odd twist, another person who appeared on the "Dateline" broadcast died of a heart attack last month. Reporter Daniel McGrory of the Times of London, who has written about the Litvinenko case, died Feb. 20, before the "Dateline" segment was broadcast. He was 54.

His family said he "died suddenly at home." He was a veteran British foreign correspondent who had reported from several war zones. Just before his death, he had been reporting in Pakistan.

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