(Washington) The United States is not yet sure what causes the so-called “Havana Syndrome,” a mysterious disease afflicting American diplomats in several countries, intelligence chief Avril Haines said on Monday.
Posted on Aug 9, 2021 at 11:33 am
The U.S. intelligence director said she held a meeting with senior government officials and experts on Friday to discuss the issue. The phenomenon has led to previously unproven allegations that Russia or other countries are accused of using high-intensity electronic devices to physically harm American diplomats in Cuba, China and elsewhere.
But five years after the first case in Havana, medical professionals, intelligence agencies and US officials are still unsure what exactly is causing these “abnormal health problems” that plagued US diplomats and their families, Ms. Haines said in a statement.
“Identifying the cause of the abnormal health problems, providing the best possible care for those affected and preventing such incidents from continuing are top priorities,” the official agreed at the meeting.
Defense, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Energy, Homeland Security and Justice Ministers attended Friday’s meeting.
Affected diplomats have in recent years accused the government of not doing enough to identify the cause or source of their symptoms.
The case emerged in 2016 when US diplomats and their families in Cuba reported migraines, nausea and nosebleeds after hearing high-pitched sounds at night.
Similar complaints from US officials have since been reported from China, Russia, and the United States itself.
The New Yorker claimed in July that since Joe Biden took office this year, around 20 US secret services, diplomats and other officials in Vienna had reported problems similar to the “Havana Syndrome”.
Attendees at Friday’s meeting “made it clear that they would support those faced with abnormal health problems to ensure they are believed, heard and respected,” said Avril Haines.