An American who last weekend alleged on national tele­vision in the US that the Kremlin was involved in the poisoning of a former KGB agent was on Thursday night shot near his Maryland home.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting of Paul Joyal, a former director of security for the Senate intelligence committee and editor of an intelligence newsletter on Russia.

Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman, said the law enforcement agency was “assisting” the police investigation into the shooting.

Mr Joyal was an acquaintance of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB agent who died in London last year after he was poisoned with polonium-210, a radioactive isotope.

Police would not confirm details of the shooting or of the condition of Mr Joyal. However, a person familiar with the case said he was in critical condition in hospital.

While there were no indications that the shooting was linked to the Litvinenko case, it is unusual for the FBI to get involved in a local shooting incident.

Appearing on NBC news on Sunday, Mr Joyal said he “absolutely” suspected the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko went all the way to the Kremlin. “Did Putin order it? We can’t say that. I would find it hard to believe that this information, whatever it may be, has not filtered its way up to the top,” he said on the network’s Dateline programme.

A person familiar with the situation said NBC had hired bodyguards for some of the journalists involved in the programme. NBC declined to comment.

The Kremlin has strongly denied any suggestions that it was involved in the poisoning of Litvinenko, a fierce critic of the Russian regime. British police are investigating the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko.

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