The CIA has found that the vast majority of mysterious “Havana Syndrome” cases reported to the government are unlikely to have resulted from efforts by hostile foreign powers, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
The CIA assessment, however, reportedly said a couple of dozen cases require more study to evaluate possible foreign involvement.
Hundreds of U.S. diplomats, spies and other government personnel have complained of debilitating and unexplained symptoms, which generally include migraine headaches and nausea after hearing strange noises, beginning with State Department staff at the American embassy in Cuba in 2016.
A targeted energy weapon ― perhaps using microwaves ― was speculated to be the culprit, although others say that’s unlikely based on current scientific advancements.
“We assess it is unlikely that a foreign actor, including Russia, is conducting a sustained, worldwide campaign harming U.S. personnel with a weapon or mechanism,” a senior CIA official told The Wall Street Journal.
The majority of known cases can be attributed to environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, CIA officials told The New York Times.
But the agency is continuing to investigate two dozen cases and has reportedly not ruled out the possibility of foreign involvement for those. Those include many of the original patients who complained of mysterious medical ailments in Havana six years ago, according to NBC News.
A significant number of other cases also do not have tidy explanations, an official told the Times.
The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.
U.S. diplomats, intelligence officers, staff and military personnel have complained of Havana Syndrome-like symptoms in Austria, China, India, Russia, Columbia ― and even in Washington, D.C. The onset of two staffers’ mysterious health complaints delayed Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Vietnam last year.
Aside from headaches and nausea, some victims experience memory loss and cognitive impairments that sometimes make it impossible to do their jobs.
CIA Director William Burns said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal that his agency is “pursuing this complex issue with analytic rigor, sound tradecraft, and compassion and have dedicated intensive resources to this challenge.”
“While we have reached some significant interim findings, we are not done. We will continue the mission to investigate these incidents and provide access to world-class care for those who need it,” Burns told the outlet.
President Joe Biden signed legislation in early October to compensate Havana Syndrome victims and ensure they have access to proper medical care.
“We are bringing to bear the full resources of the U.S. government to make available first-class medical care to those affected and to get to the bottom of these incidents, including to determine the cause and who is responsible,” Biden said at the time.
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