CIA's 'intensive investigation' finds 'foreign government wasn't responsible' for Havana Syndrome: report
A nearly seven-year-long investigation conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recently found "Havana Syndrome," which allegedly caused many U.S. government officials to fall ill, was not generated by a foreign adversary, The Washington Post reports.
One intelligence official confirmed, according to The Post, the completed report is the culmination of "months churning data, looking for patterns and inventing new analytic methodologies, only to come up with no single plausible explanation" for the cause of the illness.
Per The Post, the "mysterious ailment" has "shortened careers, racked up large medical bills and in some cases caused severe physical and emotional suffering."
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As a result, U.S. personnel who have been affected by the syndrome — particularly members of Advocacy for Victims of Havana Syndrome are still seeking answers.
The Post reports:
Many of the afflicted personnel say they were the victims of a deliberate attack — possibly at the hands of Russia or another adversarial government — a claim that the report contradicts in nearly every respect, according to two intelligence officials who are familiar with the assessment and described it to The Washington Post.
In a statement, the group asserts the intelligence officials' report "does not track with our lived experiences, nor does it account for what many medical professionals across multiple institutions have found in working with us." They continued, "Our doctors have determined that environmental or preexisting medical issues did not cause the symptoms and traumatic injuries to our neurological systems that many of us have been diagnosed with."
Still, NPR reports:
Seven different U.S. intelligence agencies were involved in the investigation, and five found it was 'highly unlikely' a foreign country was to blame. One said it was 'unlikely,' and one didn't take a position.
The officials also said there was 'no credible evidence' that a foreign adversary has a weapon capable of inflicting the kind of harm suffered by the U.S. officials.
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When reporters asked the intelligence officials what the root of the illnesses might be "if a foreign government wasn't responsible," according to NPR, the "officials said the individual cases varied, but collectively, they were probably linked to 'pre-existing medical conditions, conventional illnesses and environmental factors.'"
Unconvinced by the outcome of the report, Mark S. Zaid, an attorney "representing more than two dozen" impacted individuals said that "until the shrouds of secrecy are lifted and the analysis that led to today’s assertions are available and subject to proper challenge, the alleged conclusions are substantively worthless."
However, per The Post, CIA Director William Burns noted that the report is "one of the largest and most intensive investigations in the agency's history."
He continued, "I want to be absolutely clear: these findings do not call into question the experiences and real health issues that US Government personnel and their family members — including CIA's own officers — have reported while serving our country."
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The Washington Post's full report is available here (subscription required).
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