Havana Syndrome attacks are still a mystery


He wrote that two senior officials – Brian B. McKeown, Deputy Secretary of State, and Ambassador Pamela Spartan—they were leading a State Department task force that began holding town hall-style meetings at embassies suspected of being targets. Similar efforts have been underway at the CIA, with Mr. Burns, who met the victims on his first day on the job, recently telling NPR that he believes 100 officers and their families have been infected.

“It’s real and dangerous,” Mr. Burns said in the interview. He said only a few powers had the technology and capacity to launch attacks around the world – since initial reports in Cuba, they ranged from Europe to China. to Washington – But Mr. Burns hesitated to say that Vladimir Putin’s government was to blame.

“It could be, but I honestly can’t – I don’t want to suggest until we can draw some more definitive conclusions who it might be,” said Mr. Burns. “But there are a number of possibilities.”

Investigations attributed some of the reports to other reasons. This spring, for example, US military personnel operating in Syria suspected that a sudden illness might have been caused by a Russian aircraft that could have directed microwaves at them; It was later determined they had food poisoning. But studies of victims elsewhere have concluded there is evidence of TBI, although not the type of impact typically associated with concussions.

Throughout the Cold War, Vienna was central to East-West diplomacy. Officials say they do not believe recent reports of attacks there, which remain unconfirmed, are related to this, even though the city has been the site of negotiations on resuming the Iran nuclear deal.

Some officials suspect that besides Russia, Iran may be responsible for some of the attacks, but there is also a focus on Cuba, China and other countries. The ambiguity was compounded by the fact that some attacks took place on Russian and Chinese soil, including against a CIA officer in Moscow four years ago and a number of Foreign Ministry officials in Guangzhou, China, in 2018.

Speaking for the White House, a senior administration official said the National Security Council “draws on a broad range of scientific and medical expertise from within and outside of government to explore multiple hypotheses and generate new insights” in episodes to “protect personnel and determine who or what is responsible.”

One element of this effort, officials say, is the development of portable sensors that can be widely distributed to detect attacks. But one official said it was difficult to be sure the sensors would work, without any certainty that microwaves were the cause of unexplained illnesses. And even if they were the cause, the sensors should be able to pick up signals across much of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Julian Barnes Contribute to the preparation of reports.

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