Victims' Group Slams CIA Report on Havana Syndrome

Task force found no evidence of 'sustained campaign' from a foreign power
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2022 9:06 AM CST
CIA: No Evidence of Foreign Power Behind Havana Syndrome Cases
Some officials who reported cases were based at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba.   (Jongleur100/Wikipedia)

The CIA has issued the interim findings of its Havana syndrome investigation—and victims of the mysterious syndrome are far from happy with what has been disclosed. Officials tell the New York Times that the task force concluded that the vast majority of around 1,000 reported cases can be explained by existing medical conditions, stress, or environmental factors, and there is no evidence that the symptoms affecting diplomats and CIA personnel are the result of a "sustained worldwide campaign" from Russia or any other foreign power. Officials say the investigation is now focusing on around two dozen unexplained cases where they have "not ruled out the involvement of a foreign actor."

"In this extensive investigation we have so far not found evidence of state-actor involvement in any incident," a CIA official tells CBS. The investigation looked into what the government calls "anomalous health incidents," experienced by US personnel in cities including Havana and Vienna, with symptoms including headaches, nausea, vertigo, and, in some cases, brain injuries. The group Advocacy for Victims of Havana Syndrome strongly criticized the report Wednesday, saying that while it was labeled interim, "to scores of dedicated public servants, their families and their colleagues, it has a ring of finality and repudiation."

Critics of the report said a government effort to get more people to report symptoms had led to thousands of extra reports, weakening the investigation's focus. "We have reason to believe the interim report does not even represent the consensus of the full CIA, instead reflecting the views of a subset of officials most interested in resolution and closure," the victims' group said. Sources tell CNN that upcoming reports may offer a different view of the syndrome, including one from experts investigating what kind of technology could have caused the symptoms. (More Havana syndrome stories.)

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