The Kokal Mystery

On Nov. 9, I featured a Big Blue Marble entry on the mysterious death of John Kokal, a 58-yearold US State Department official whose body was found outside the department’s building. At the time, authorities did not know whether Kokal fell or was pushed to his death. It occured to me then that this might be a case similar to either Britain’s Dr. David Kelly or the Clinton Administration’s Vince Foster.

Since then, I have been hellaciously busy and did not go searching for information. Then again, I didn’t see anything else on the subject in the news. And then today, while visiting Pen-Elayne on the Web, I saw a pointer to MouseMusings, which takes on the Kokal Incident. Blogger Cindy Roy’s entry title asks the obvious: “How Did a Senior Analyst at State Department’s Intelligence Unit Fall from the Roof of State Department Headquarters and Why is No One Talking About It?”

Why, indeed.


Cindy’s post points to a Wayne Madsen piece on From the Wilderness. In it, Madsen notes that while Fox News mentioned the story after Kokal’s Nov. 7 death, and while the State Department confirmed the news for the Washington Post, WaPo has not published said confirmation. I checked that out and could find nothing more than a brief Nov. 8 WaPo report (scroll down the page to find it) on Kokal’s death and a mention that State officials confirmed that the man worked in intelligence and research, but not in analysis.

Manis2Society of Cosmic Iguana notes, as pointed out in the Fox piece, that when Kokal’s body was discovered, he was wearing neither a coat nor shoes. Manis, in admirable super-sleuth mode, speculates at League of Liberals that “his body was probably moved and those items removed to eliminate clues.”

Madsen has more:

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.

Talk about shades of David Kelly.

The article goes on to say that folks at State are frightened to discuss Kokal’s death.

Why? What is being hidden? Are folks afraid they will end up like their unfortunate colleague? Is this America?

The Shrubites have done their best to cool the flames surrounding the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Can they really shut down discussion on and an investigation of a possible murder?

This is too scary for words.

Dig this, from cryptogon.com

Dear U.S. State Department Readers

I have noticed that several of you are looking for information related to the death of John Kokal. I don’t have anything more to offer besides what you have read in the mainstream news outlets. If you happen to be in a position to reveal any information related to this incident, Cryptogon is read widely and information presented here will spread rapidly. If you choose to contact me, do not use your computer system at the State Department. If you have real information, and would like to share it with the world, here are a couple of tips that could save your life:

1) Obtain a “clean” laptop computer. This is a computer that is not associated with you in any way. Example: You paid cash for it at Goodwill, or some other place that sells used computer equipment.

2) Obtain a “clean” 802.11 (wi-fi) wireless network adapter for the laptop. This is a wireless network adapter that is not associated with you in any way. Example: You paid cash for it at Goodwill, or some other place that sells used computer equipment.

3) Find an open access point using netstumbler or some other sniffer tool. WARNING: THE T-MOBILE NETWORK IN STARBUCKS AND BORDER’S STORES DOES NOT COUNT. NOTE: The Them, if they choose, will knock on the door of the person/company who is running the open network you use to connect to the Internet. Often times, people/companies don’t know they are running open wireless networks.

3) Obtain a throw-away email address (hotmail, yahoo, etc.).

4) Encrypt your message to me using PGP. Here is my public key.

5) Never use this laptop and wi-fi card on any network that is associated with you in any way. Never use this laptop and wi-fi card on the same access point twice. The Them might think you will return to that location and They will put it under physical surveillance. Because They will have the MAC address of your wireless card (every network device has a unique number), they will actually be able to pinpoint your physical location to within a few feet. My guess is that a white van would pull up and you would be gone. End of story.

If all of this is too much trouble, type your message and send it to me in plain text. I obviously don’t care what They do to me. It’s you I’m worried about.

I hope some brave person with information comes forward. (If you want to take cryptogon up on the offer, visit that site for the details.)

Keep your eyes and ears open, friends. Something is rotten in Bushland.

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