Cricket sounds add to mys­tery of 22 Amer­i­cans hurt in Cuba

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — It sounds sort of like a mass of crick­ets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to un­du­late, even writhe. Lis­ten closely: There are mul­ti­ple, dis­tinct tones that sound to some like they’re col­lid­ing in a nails-on-the-chalk­board ef­fect.

The As­so­ci­ated Press has ob­tained a record­ing of what some U.S. Em­bassy work­ers heard in Ha­vana in a se­ries of un­nerv­ing in­ci­dents later deemed to be de­lib­er­ate at­tacks. The record­ing, re­leased Thurs­day by the AP, is the first dis­sem­i­nated pub­licly of the many taken in Cuba of mys­te­ri­ous sounds that led in­ves­ti­ga­tors ini­tially to sus­pect a sonic weapon.

At least 22 Amer­i­cans are “med­i­cally con­firmed” to be af­fected, the State Depart­ment says. The U.S. says that in gen­eral the at­tacks caused hear­ing, cog­ni­tive, vis­ual, bal­ance, sleep and other problems.

The record­ings from Ha­vana have been sent for anal­y­sis to the U.S. Navy, which has ad­vanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties for an­a­lyz­ing acous­tic sig­nals, and to the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, the AP has learned.

But the record­ings have not ad­vanced U.S. knowl­edge about what is harm­ing di­plo­mats.

State Depart­ment spokes­woman Heather Nauert wouldn’t com­ment on the tape’s au­then­tic­ity.

Cuba has de­nied in­volve­ment or knowl­edge of the at­tacks.

The U.S. has faulted Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro’s govern­ment for fail­ing to pro­tect Amer­i­can per­son­nel, and Nauert said Thurs­day that Cuba “may have more in­for­ma­tion than we are aware of right now.”

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