MYSTERY SURROUNDS DEATH
OF STATE DEPT. OFFICIAL
by Wayne Madsen
(special to From The Wilderness)
© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, www.copvcia.com. All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.
November 20, 2003 (FTW), WASHINGTON -- In a case eerily reminiscent of the death of British Ministry of Defense bio-weapons expert, Dr. David Kelly, an official of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research Near East and South Asian division (INR/NESA), John J. Kokal, 58, was found dead in the late afternoon of November 7. Police indicated he may have jumped from the roof of the State Department. Kokal's body was found at the bottom of a 20 foot window well, 8 floors below the roof of the State Department headquarters near the 23rd and D Street location. Kokal's death was briefly mentioned in a FOX News website story on November 8 but has been virtually overlooked by the major media.
Interestingly, the FOX report states that State Department officials confirmed Kokal's death to The Washington Post yet the Post - according to an archive search - has published nothing at all about Kokal's death. A subsequent search revealed that the Post had made a short three-paragraph entry the death in the Metro section on November 7, 2003. However, the Post entry stated that Kokal did not work in intelligence and the story does not show up in the archives.
Kokal's INR bureau was at the forefront of confronting claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Washington police have not ruled out homicide as the cause of his death. Kokal was not wearing either a jacket or shoes when his body was found. He lived in Arlington, Virginia.
However, a colleague of Kokal's told this writer that the Iraq analyst was despondent over "problems" with his security clearance. Kokal reportedly climbed out of a window and threw himself out in such a manner so that he would "land on his head." At the time Kokal fell from either the roof or a window, his wife Pamela, a public affairs specialist in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, was waiting for him in the parking garage. Mrs. Kokal had previously worked in Consular Affairs where she was involved in the stricter vetting of visa applicants from mainly Muslim countries after the Sept. 11 attacks.
State Department officials dispute official State Department communiqués that said Kokal was not an analyst at INR. People who know Kokal told the French publication Geopolitique that Kokal was involved in the analysis of intelligence about Iraq prior to and during the war against Saddam Hussein.
Another INR official, weapons expert Greg Thielmann, said he and INR were largely ignored by Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton and his deputy, David Wurmser, a pro-Likud neo-conservative who recently became Vice President Dick Cheney's Middle East adviser. Kokal's former boss, the recently retired chief of INR, Carl W. Ford, recently said that Bolton often exaggerated information to steer people in the wrong directions.
A former INR employee revealed that some one-third to one-half of INR officials are either former intelligence agents with the CIA or are detailed from the agency. He also revealed it would have been impossible for Kokal to have gained entry to the roof on his own. INR occupies both a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) on the sixth floor that has no windows and a windowless structure on the roof that has neither windows nor access to the roof, according to the former official. The other windows at the State Department have been engineered to be shatter proof from terrorist bomb attacks and cannot be opened.
INR and other State Department officials report that a "chill" has set in at the State Department following Kokal's defenestration. A number of employees are afraid to talk about the suspicious death. It also unusual that The Northern Virginia Journal, a local Arlington newspaper, has not published an obituary notice on Kokal.
(Wayne Madsen, a frequent FTW contributor, is a former US Naval officer and intelligence analyst who is currently an author, freelance writer and commentator in Washington, D.C.)
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