Havana Syndrome: No Evidence of Foreign Attack, CIA Says
US intelligence cannot conclude that Havana Syndrome is the result of deliberate attacks by an opposing foreign power.
US intelligence says it does not unable to link foreign powers to Havana Syndrome, the cause of hundreds of brain injuries and symptoms reported by US government personnel around the world.
This mysterious ailment gets its name because of the 2016 outbreak of a series of brain injuries suffered by staff at the U.S. and Canadian embassies in Cuba, hence its nickname Havana Syndrome.
Many employees of the diplomatic services of both countries and their relatives suffering from persistent headaches, dizziness, hearing problems and memory loss were almost all diagnosed with brain damage after their time in Havana.
Similar incidents were subsequently reported among diplomats, intelligence officers, and military personnel in the Washington area as well as at U.S. installations around the world.
The American investigators have listed at least 1,500 cases of Havana syndrome in 96 countries.
Suspecting the use of electromagnetic wave, microwave or ultrasonic weapons against US government personnel by one or more hostile foreign powers, the US intelligence services today raise doubts about the thesis of the use of any form of energy directed at US diplomatic personnel around the world.
According to two US intelligence officials authorized to speak to reporters, no solid evidence has been established so far that the attacks were deliberate. On the contrary, the appearance of this syndrome would rather have caused confusion among the opposing governments, giving rise to suspicions of a plot hatched by the Americans themselves to discredit them, said these two officials.
In some cases, they added, intelligence investigators were even on the scene when possible cases of Havana syndrome were reported.
Seven agencies Americans in all took part in this survey which took place over several years.
Russia has long been suspected by some intelligence agents of using electromagnetic devices to attack US personnel. But last year the CIA said it was unlikely that Russia or any other foreign adversary had used microwaves or other forms of directed energy to attack the American personnel.
The agency's discovery drew immediate criticism from the hundreds of people who have experienced the syndrome and from rights advocates who accuse the government of ignoring the phenomenon for too long.
In Congress, Democrats and Republicans have urged the administration of President Joe Biden to continue research to determine who or what is the source of this mysterious syndrome. The elected officials are also asking the White House to improve the treatment of victims and provide them with better medical care.
Although we have reached significant interim conclusions, we are not done, assured CIA Director William Burns in a statement last year. We will continue our mission to investigate these incidents and provide access to world-class care for those in need.
The building housing the Canadian Embassy in Havana, Cuba.
In Canada, diplomats, their spouses and their children, all victims of attacks of an unforeseen nature identified while stationed in Cuba, in 2019 sued Ottawa for delaying evacuation and treatment. The plaintiffs sought $28 million in damages.
A year and a half after returning home, all still claimed to suffer from Havana Syndrome.
In July 2021, Global Affairs Canada said that at least 15 Canadians had received a confirmed diagnosis of an acquired brain injury.
In November 2022, former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell was appointed mediator for claims against the federal government of nine family members of Canadian diplomats affected by Havana Syndrome.
The lawsuit, which now has 18 plaintiffs, is seeking millions of dollars in damages from the Canadian government.
Due to this worrying situation in Cuba, since April 2018, Canadian diplomats in Havana can no longer be accompanied by their spouses and children.
In January 2019, Global Affairs Canada had even halved its diplomatic representation in L in Havana.
With information from Associated Press