Mon, 18 Oct 2021

An officer who accompanied CIA chief William Burns during his trip to India earlier this month suffered symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome, a mysterious sickness affecting US officials since 2016, CNN reported.

An unnamed CIA officer required medical attention due to his condition, the sources told the broadcaster. Burns reportedly was left "fuming" with anger after being informed about what had happened.

Some US officials have interpreted the new Havana-syndrome incident as a direct message to the CIA chief that no is safe, including the people from his entourage, two sources told CNN.

When approached by Reuters, a CIA spokesperson replied that the agency doesn't comment on specific incidents or officers. "We have protocols in place for when individuals report possible anomalous health incidents that include receiving appropriate medical treatment," he pointed out.

In August, Vice President Kamala Harris had to slightly delay her visit to Vietnam after multiple US staff in Hanoi reported symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome and two diplomats required evacuation.

The so-far unexplained sickness is characterized by migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness among other things. More than 200 US officials and family members have been reportedly affected by Havana syndrome in various parts of the globe, including Russia, China, Germany and Australia, as well as inside the US since it was first encountered among American diplomats working in the Cuban capital Havana in 2016.

US agencies have been investigating the phenomenon, but they are yet unable to say with certainty if it's a result of deliberate attacks or a byproduct of surveillance technology used to spy on American personnel.

The US National Academy of Sciences panel said in a report last year that the most plausible theory could be that Havana syndrome was being caused by "directed, pulsed radio frequency energy."

In July, Burn insisted that Havana syndrome was "real" and "serious" as he announced another 100-day probe into the sickness, headed by the same senior officer who once led the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

The CIA chief claimed that there was a "very strong possibility" that the syndrome was a result of intentional action, adding that there was only a limited list of "potential suspects" capable of carrying out such activities on a global scale.

Earlier this month, a panel of Cuban scientists, which also investigated the events of 2016, said that there was "no scientific evidence of attacks" against the US diplomats in Havana. The "non-science-based" explanations of the phenomenon disseminated by the media only confuse the public and "harm US officials, who believe them," it insisted.


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