Another more likely possibility is that over the years the CIA has come to believe that the Russian secret services would not dare to carry out what are known in the trade as “wet works,” or assassinations, on U.S. soil.

But times have changed. Donald Trump, president of the United States, was elected with the help of Russian operatives and has been an apologist for Putin for years, often taking his side in public and preferring to deal with him in private, with no witnesses.

At the same time, Putin’s minions in military intelligence (GRU), and the FSB and SVR (successors to the infamous KGB), have been implicated in several murders and attempted murders, most famously the assassination of former FSB operative Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, who was poisoned with the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210. Last year, in Salisbury, England, the arcane chemical agent novichok was used to try to kill former GRU operative (and spy for MI6) Sergei Skripal. Skripal and his grown daughter both survived, but a passerby died after she picked up the Nina Ricci perfume bottle in which the killers had carried the chemical agent.