Panel Identifies 'Plausible Cause' of Havana Syndrome

Experts say symptoms could be caused by electromagnetic energy devices
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2022 6:43 AM CST
Panel: Pulsed Energy Devices Could Cause Havana Syndrome
Tourists ride classic convertible cars on the Malecon beside the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

Two weeks after an interim CIA report stated there was no evidence of a "sustained campaign" behind Havana syndrome, a new report has taken a very different tone, saying the "genuine and compelling" symptoms can be plausibly explained by pulsed electromagnetic energy devices. The panel of intelligence analysts and outside scientific, medical, and engineering experts said concealable devices with "modest energy requirements" exist that could cause symptoms through walls or from hundreds of yards away, the Guardian reports. The panel reviewed more than 1,000 classified documents and spoke to an undisclosed number of witnesses, focusing on a particular set of symptoms, per the BBC.

The panel said it focused on cases with four "core characteristics:" sudden vertigo or ear pain; pressure on one side of the head; a strong sense that something is causing the symptoms from a particular direction; and symptoms that "cannot be easily explained by known environmental or medical conditions." The panel wasn't tasked with looking into who might be responsible for the apparent attacks on US personnel overseas. It said another plausible cause could be some kind of ultrasound device, though it would have to have been very close to the target. The CIA interim report from last month said most of around 1,000 reported cases could be explained by other factors, including stress, but around two dozen cases were unexplained.

The panel noted that "persons accidentally exposed to radio frequency signals described sensations similar to the core characteristics," but ethical concerns have prevented research into the effects of such energy on humans. The Advocacy for Victims of Havana Syndrome group welcomed the latest report, saying the findings should have been coordinated with those of the CIA, the Wall Street Journal reports. In a statement, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and CIA Director William Burns said they will continue investigations of the syndrome "with continued rigor, for however long it takes." (Read more Havana syndrome stories.)

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