U.S. seeks answers on ‘health attacks’ at embassy
WASHINGTON — As American authorities search for answers into mysterious “health attacks” that began two years ago in Havana, U.S. and Cuban officials were renewing efforts to determine the method and motive behind incidents that have left some diplomats with brain injuries.
Talks Thursday at the State Department come as national security agencies and members of Congress express frustration about the lack of answers about what the U.S says were deliberate attacks on some two dozen staffers at the U.S. Embassy in the Cuban capital.
Cuba’s foreign ministry said nine members of the scientific team it assembled to look into the incidents met with U.S. lawmakers and the National Academy of Sciences before the talks.
The Cuban Embassy said the team was proposing “a dispassionate examination of health reports of U.S. diplomats in Cuba according to the rules of science.”
The State Department said the meeting is “part of our ongoing effort to investigate and better understand the health conditions of our diplomats.”
It did not offer additional details, although the department has played down or denied reports that investigators have focused on a microwave device as the source of the attacks and that Russia is the leading suspect.
Those reports have raised protests from Cuba, which does not dispute the symptoms but insists there is no evidence to support any assertion that they were caused by premeditated attacks on its soil. Cuba has repeatedly denounced the U.S. accusations as politically motivated and unproven.
Twenty-five U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba, as well as one at the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou, China, have been affected by mysterious health incidents that began in the fall of 2016. The range of symptoms and diagnoses includes mild traumatic brain injury, also known as concussion.
Initial speculation had centered on some type of sonic attack, owing to strange sounds heard by those affected. But an interim FBI report in January found no evidence that sound waves could have caused the damage.