…the rest of the story (with apologies to Paul…) Charlie Stross deconstructs the recent assassination via polonium-210 in London:
The point is, someone with access to fresh Polonium 210 (read: less than a year old, hot from the reactor) decided to use it to bump off an enemy.
And the terrorism alert status hasn’t risen a notch? Pull the other one.
Anyway, to the point: this wasn’t simply an assassination. There are any number of poisons out there that would do the job painfully well but much more rapidly, and without the same scope for a diplomatic incident. Likewise, a bullet to the back of the head would have worked just as well (as witness the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya).
What this is, is a warning: “we have the capability to detonate a dirty bomb in central London any time we feel like it, so don’t fuck with us”. (Just take Polonium and add a little TNT.)