USA to Open Formal Inquiry on Americans Sickened in Cuba

USA to Open Formal Inquiry on Americans Sickened in Cuba

But Todd Brown, assistant director of diplomatic security at the State Department, told the Senate panel that he had not yet ruled out an "acoustic element".

Rubio and State Department officials also confirmed the State Department became so concerned about the attacks that from February through April 2017 medical experts evaluated 80 members of the embassy community and concluded that 16 individuals had "verifiable clinical" symptoms similar to what you would see in patients who "have had a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion".

The victims - at least 24 Americans, a mix of U.S. embassy personnel and their dependents - suffered headaches, hearing loss, disorientation and some loss of cognitive ability.

Cuban officials have dismissed as "science fiction" the notion that some kind of sonic weapon was used.

The FBI on the other hand outlined various hypotheses that the attack was promulgated by high air pressure waves propelled by either audible sound, infrasound or ultrasound.

On Tuesday, Dr. Charles Rosenfarb, the State Department's medical director, dismissed the notion that the problems resulted from some form of mass hysteria.

Rosenfarb said the only similar case he was aware of were suspicions during the Cold War before 1976 that USA diplomats in Moscow were hurt by Russian microwave transmitters.

The June visit to Havana by Dr. Jeffrey Chernin of Health Canada revealed symptoms similar to those experienced by US personnel in Cuba, the internal Global Affairs Canada notes say. Twenty-four USA government officials and spouses fell ill in Havana starting in 2016.

Critics of the Cuban government said they must know more than they are letting on about what happened.

Questions about whether Russian Federation was somehow responsible for the attacks were deferred by State Department officials to the future classified hearing. So far, US officials have not confirmed what caused the it or who was behind it.

"I think it's fair to say that whoever did this, did this because they wanted there to be friction between the US and the Cuban government".

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Prosecutors say Ullah wanted to cause carnage to avenge USA aggression toward the Islamic State group. Ullah's public defender, Amy Gallicchio, would not explain the unusual phrasing.

Tillerson has continued to defend his decision to remove US diplomats and their relatives from Cuba in September. Still, he insisted that President Raul Castro's government "knows what occurred" and refuses to tell the United States.

The administration of President Donald Trump, which has partly rolled back a detente with Cuba, responded a year ago by sharply drawing down USA embassy staff in Havana and in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats. "The Cubans bristle at the word 'attack.' I think they are justified at doing so".

Rubio said in his mind, the Cuban government bears some responsibility.

Tillerson has said he is convinced the attacks are deliberate and is unsure whether they are over.

All Canadian personnel experiencing symptoms have undergone testing in Canada or the U.S., Global Affairs spokesperson Sujata Raisinghani said on January 4.

"I'd be intentionally putting them back in harm's way".

"I would also like to emphasize up front that the investigation into these health attacks is ongoing", Palmieri told the subcommittee.

Sen. Rubio took to Twitter on Sunday to push back against Flake's comments.

"I still believe that the Cuban government, someone within the Cuban government can bring this to an end", he added.

"Nothing is inconsistent with what the Cubans have said, and I think the Federal Bureau of Investigation would say that", he added, seemingly defending the communist regime.

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