NPR Host's Lunch in London Intersects Spy Case NPR's Weekend Edition host Scott Simon was recently in London with his wife and young daughter. During their stay, they ate at the Itsu Sushi restaurant, the infamous site where former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko met with a contact before contracting fatal Polonium poisoning. Traces of the radioactive element have been found at the restaurant.
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NPR Host's Lunch in London Intersects Spy Case

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NPR Host's Lunch in London Intersects Spy Case

NPR Host's Lunch in London Intersects Spy Case

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It turns out that the Scotland Yard investigation of the Litvinenko poisoning, the long arm of the law, has actually reached into the NPR news staff, and joining me right now is our colleague, Scott Simon. Scott, you have to explain. You happened to be in London.

SCOTT SIMON: We were in London, my wife and child and I, for a party, and two nights in a row before we went out and the babysitter came, we decided to get our little girl something to eat, and both nights we went to this sushi parlor -

SIEGEL: The notorious sushi bar, yes.

SIMON: - along the - within 100 feet of us there in Piccadilly. We went there twice to get miso soup and sushi.

SIEGEL: And this is a measure of the investigation right now, you were contacted.

SIMON: Yes. They were able to find us I think by a combination of hotel records and, for that matter, credit card slips. And I must say, I've been very impressed by the degree of contact we've had and information from Scotland Yard, who was quite keen, as they say, that we take the medical tests that are necessary, which by the way we seem to be fine, although there's always some concern, particularly with a three and a half year-old, and to make certain that those results are available to them, too.

SIEGEL: And this is a double purposed interview. They want to alert you to get tested.

SIMON: And also, I think they view anybody who was in that restaurant as a potential source of information if they saw anything.

SIEGEL: What did they want to know?

SIMON: They wanted to know approximately what time we were in the restaurant, what we remembered of the restaurant, did we notice anybody, any distinguishing features, anything we noticed at all.

SIEGEL: Pictures of -

SIMON: They e-mailed pictures. I'm not sure I should detail the number, a relatively small number of pictures, and I didn't recognize anyone. My wife's memory is much clearer than mine, and I perhaps shouldn't try and recreate what she - I shouldn't pass along what she remembered.

SIEGEL: But the fact that you were tracked down and somebody paid you a house call here in Washington, D.C., is one measure of the investigation.

SIMON: Of how thorough the investigation is now, and I must say it's impressed us, both with how thorough the investigation is and how seriously they seem to be taking it and how serious they understand the concern is, because even though they keep underscoring if you haven't evinced any symptoms, you're almost certainly fine, they understand any time you use the word radiation, any time somebody thinks that they have been exposed, this is - they're creating a personal crisis in, I suspect at this point, thousands of families. And they do seem to be very understanding of that.

SIEGEL: And symptoms would be different from simply exhibiting an elevated level of radiation.

SIMON: Yes. Symptoms would be, well, hair loss and nausea and other things I probably don't need to go into.

SIEGEL: Absolutely none of which you or anyone in your family -

SIMON: We've had none of which. And you know, and our little girl is three and a half, and it's not uncommon for her to be nauseous, but she's been fine.

SIEGEL: Well Scott, thank you very much for talking with us about it. And next time you go out to dinner in London -

SIMON: I think we're going to do Indian take out, actually.

SIEGEL: Okay, Scott, thank you very much for talking with us.

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