The attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal has seen the media awash with allegations and speculation. We wonder whether the simplest way to find out who did it could involve a polygraph test.

Many tabloids have carried headlines asserting that this man was a Russian spy.  It seems clear from various evidence that he was in fact a double agent. If not, it would have made no sense for the spy swap that took place between Britain and Russia in 2010.

Who is Sergei Skripal?

Skripal worked in the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, often referred to as the Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU. British Intelligence services appear to have recruited him as a spy some time in the 90s.  He was protected by diplomatic cover when overseas.

In 2004 he was arrested and imprisoned for supplying intelligence to the UK. In 2010 he was pardoned by Dmitry Medvedev, the then president of Russia.  In one of the largest spy swap deals, arranged by the United States, Skripal was among them and released to Britain.

Apart from the odd lecture he has given about Russian intelligence, Skripal has been retired for more than 20 years.  And 14 of those years were spent behind bars.

When a spy swap is arranged it is highly unusual for any parties involved to seek retribution against those who are released.

Nerve agent

A nerve agent was used in the attempted assassination. Samples of this are being tested at the Porton Down Military Defence Laboratory in Salisbury which coincidentally is located 3-4 miles away from where Skripal and his daughter were found. Porton Down is instrumental in research, development and testing of chemical weapons.

There are four main types of chemical weapons including ‘venomous agent X (commonly referred to as VX), sarin, phosgene and mustard gas.  We may learn soon which of these was used.  Yet social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook have already decided that VX was responsible.  Until the tests are complete no one knows what was responsible.

Who should take a Polygraph Test?

Thousands of social media accounts and several tabloids have already decided that the Russians must have done it.  The Kremlin and the Russian Embassy in the UK deny any involvement.

We have warned before about the power of propaganda and fake news.  Radio presenters on channels such as LBC have been alive with conversations about who did it? Callers’ opinions have ranged from accusing the Russians to the British and several others in between. Some callers don’t see the attack as important considering Skripal was a spy do “deserved to die”. Others see the wider implications of any chemical weapon attack being carried out on British soil.  The danger to others is highlighted by the demise of a policeman who went to the victims’ aid.  DS Nick Bailey is luckily recovering in hospital.

Several members of the public have also been ill. Anyone who was in the area at the time has been advised by the Home Office to wash the clothes they were wearing on the day of the attack.

So who should take a Polygraph test?  If the Russians did do it, it is highly unlikely that Vladimir Putin or senior officers would not have known about it.  Will they submit to a lie detector test?  And what if they pass the test?  Who do you think we should focus on next?