US officials increasingly believe directed-energy attacks are behind Havana Syndrome cases, report says

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US officials increasingly believe directed-energy attacks are behind Havana Syndrome cases, report says
The US Embassy in Havana, Cuba on October 14, 2017. Gary Hershorn/Getty
  • US investigators increasingly believe that Havana Syndrome symptoms are caused by directed-energy attacks.
  • Behind closed doors, officials reportedly believe a hostile foreign government such as Russia is responsible.

US officials are increasingly convinced directed-energy attacks by a hostile foreign entity are to blame for the mysterious Havana Syndrome cases, Politico said, citing officials briefed on the matter.

The Havana Syndrome refers to inexplicable symptoms first reported by US officials in the Cuban capital in 2016, including migraines, hearing loss, and even brain damage.

A US government review has been probing the mysterious ailment, which has affected over 200 US officials around the world.

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Earlier this year, CIA Director William Burns appointed an unidentified agent who led the hunt for Osama Bin Laden to head the task force investigating the syndrome.

A Senate Intelligence Committee review, based on weekly briefings from the intelligence community, supports the findings of a December 2020 report. It said that the most plausible explanation is "directed, pulsed radio frequency energy," Politico reported, citing three people familiar with the review.

Politico said lawmakers are becoming increasingly convinced that a foreign government such as Russia is behind the attacks. However, there is currently no direct evidence directly linking them to the country.

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Moscow has denied any responsibility.

In recent months, there have been several high-profile incidents of US officials reporting Havana Syndrome symptoms worldwide.

Vice President Kamala's Harris' trip to Vietnam in August was delayed when several US personnel reported symptoms in Hanoi.

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In September, a member of the CIA director Bill Burns's team experienced symptoms while on a trip to India.

On Friday, President Joe Biden signed a bill to expand access to medical treatment for those Havana Syndrome victims.

Biden said in a statement that addressing Havana Syndrome cases has been a "top priority" for his administration to find out who was responsible.

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The National Security Council has been convening more frequent high-level meetings about the topic, in a sign that the government's review is accelerating, Politico reported.

Some skeptics have argued that Havana Syndrome cases could be psychosomatic, although this view has been widely dismissed by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Neurologist Robert Baloh recently penned an op-ed in which he suggested that the symptoms could be an example of a "mass psychogenic illness," commonly known as mass hysteria.

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, fiercely rejected the claims.

"I think that's quackery," Rubio said, according to Politico. "I'd invite them to explain that to the now-dozens of people who have suffered documented brain injuries that in many cases have made them incapable of ever working again."

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