US intelligence community cannot link ‘Havana Syndrome’ cases to a foreign adversary

US intelligence community cannot link ‘Havana Syndrome’ cases to a foreign adversary


The US intelligence community cannot link any cases of the mysterious ailment known as “Havana Syndrome” to a foreign adversary, ruling it unlikely that the unexplained illness was the result of a targeted campaign by an enemy of the US, according to US intelligence officials familiar with the assessment.

The latest conclusion comes years after the so-called syndrome first emerged and defies a theory that it was the result of a targeted campaign by an enemy of the US.

The new assessment echoes an interim report from the CIA last year that found it unlikely that the “anomalous health incidents,” as they are formally known, were the caused by “a sustained worldwide campaign” by Russia or any other foreign actor.

The assessment also goes further in finding that there is no credible evidence that a foreign adversary has a weapon or collection device that is capable of causing the mysterious incidents, the officials said.

The mysterious illness first emerged in late 2016, when a cluster of diplomats stationed in the Cuban capital of Havana began reporting symptoms consistent with head trauma, including dizziness and extreme headaches. In subsequent years, there have been cases reported around the world, including clusters of at least 60 incidents in Bogota, Colombia and Vienna, Austria.

The assessment draws on the immense resources of the US intelligence community, including a review of hundreds of incidents and a wide range of factors surrounding them, officials explained. There have been about 1,500 reported cases across the US government in 96 different counties including some cases reported this year, officials said.

Wednesday assessment, however, does not provide definitive answers on or what caused the ailment that has sickened hundreds of US government personnel and family members worldwide.

There is no one explanation for these incidents. Instead, there are many different possible causes including environmental as well as social factors and preexisting medical conditions, officials said.

The assessment is likely to lead to further frustration among those impacted who have chastised the US government for not taking the condition seriously enough or slow-rolling the investigation.

“There is something counterintuitive to all of this. If doctors are diagnosing some of us with a qualified injury to the brain in the line of duty and we are not saying it was a foreign adversary, what was it from?” said one former CIA agency officer who experienced symptoms.

The intelligence community workforce was notified of the assessment on Wednesday, officials said. Sufferers were notified in recent days that the assessment was coming and some received a call from CIA Director Bill Burns, one source said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.


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