State Dept. Arabist found dead

A story about the death of John Kokal, a State Department official working in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (INR/NESA), is making the rounds on the alternative websites, but not the mainstream press. Many are reminded of the death of Dr. David Kelly, the British WMD expert:

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.


Kokal had reportedly worked on Iraq's WMD program and had been part of the State Dept. team that doubted the case put forward by the Defense Dept. on Iraq. A French news site suggests that Kokal may have been part of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, an organization of intelligence officials that have denounced in the press and in open letters the White House's manipulation of intelligence on Iraq.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.