Tags: Castro-Cuba | havana | syndrome | illness | biden | cia

Intelligence Agencies Vow to Discover 'Havana Syndrome' Cause

Intelligence Agencies Vow to Discover 'Havana Syndrome' Cause
(Ramon Espinosa/AP)

By    |   Friday, 26 February 2021 09:57 PM

A renewed bipartisan push to discover the cause of the so-called "Havana Syndrome" appears to have resonated with the Biden Administration. 

The Washington Examiner reported Friday a CIA spokesperson said the agency was working with others to "double down" on finding answers regarding  the "unexplained global health incidents" among U.S. personnel abroad in places such as Cuba, Russia and China. 

The public first became aware of the "Havana Syndrome" in  2016 after incidents at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. Related events were reported to have occurred before and after that.

The effects of the illness featured dizziness, head pain, vision problems, cognitive troubles, loud noises, vertigo and possible traumatic brain injuries. 

While it had not been confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies, the leading theory was the illness was the result of microwave weapon attacks, possibly by Russia. 

President Joe Biden's picks to lead the CIA and State Department promised to find out who was responsible and to ensure U.S. government employees get the healthcare they need.

The Trump administration largely had been secretive about the situation.

William Burns, Biden’s nominee to lead the CIA, promised Wednesday to investigate and get the CIA and other agencies' personnel the treatment needed during his Senate Intelligence confirmation hearing.

"I will have no higher priority than taking care of people, of colleagues, and their families,'' Burns said after being pressed by members of both major parties.

"And I do commit to you that, if I am confirmed, I will make it an extraordinarily high priority to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the attacks that you just described and to ensure that colleagues and their families get the care that they deserve, including at the National Institutes of Health and at Walter Reed."

Mark Zaid, who represents employees from the CIA, National Security Agency, State Department and Commerce Department, told the Examiner Burns' comments were encouraging, "but it will take a very strong leader to break through CIA's historical posture, which has been to hide and deny its knowledge of these attacks."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke in similar fashion during his Senate Foreign Relations confirmation hearing in January.

"The priority is making sure that our diplomats are safe and secure, but also that we find out who is responsible," Blinken said, "if a state actor or others are responsible, having accountability and making sure that we put the protections in place."

A State Department Accountability Review Board report in 2018 noted "in addition to Embassy Havana, there were reports of similar incidents at several other posts (Tashkent, [Uzbekistan], [redacted country name], and China)."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carried out an inconclusive "epidemiologic investigation" in 2019.

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A renewed bipartisan push to discover the cause of the so-called "Havana Syndrome" appears to have resonated with the Biden Administration. The Washington Examiner reported Friday a CIA spokesperson said the agency was working with others to "double down" on finding answers...
havana, syndrome, illness, biden, cia
Friday, 26 February 2021 09:57 PM
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