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US Army planned to use radioactive poison to kill; INTERNATIONAL.

The US Army once considered using radioactive poison to assassinate enemy leaders, newly-released documents show.

Decades before Alexander Litvinenko was killed, apparently by Russian agents by a dose of polonium 210 in London, military chiefs in Washington were considering similar methods.

The recently declassified documents show the idea was approved at the highest levels of the Army in 1948.

It was a well-hidden part of the military's pursuit of a "new concept of warfare" that was to have used radioactive materials from atomic bomb-making to contaminate swaths of enemy land or to target military bases, factories or troop formations.

Military historians said they have never before seen evidence that the overall strategy included individual assassinations. No names appear in the government documents declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the AP.

The records were released, heavily censored by the government to remove specifics about radiological warfare agents and other details.

The documents give no indication whether a radiological weapon for targeting high-ranking individuals was ever used or developed by the US.

And they leave unclear how far the army project went. One memo from December 1948 outlined the project and another that month indicated it was under way. The main sections of several subsequent progress reports in 1949 were removed by censors before release.

Whether the work was moved to another agency such as the CIA is also unclear. The project was given final approval in November 1948 and began the following month, just one year after the CIA's creation in 1947.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 9, 2007
Words:257
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