U.S. Intel Cannot Link “Havana Syndrome” to Foreign Adversary

March 1, 2023

A U.S. intelligence report Wednesday found that it’s “very unlikely” that a foreign adversary or energy weapon was the cause of the malady known as “Havana Syndrome.”

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in a statement that the events—officially referred to as “Anomalous Health Incidents”—were probably the result of other factors such as “preexisting conditions, conventional illnesses, and environmental factors.”

“Havana Syndrome” first emerged in late 2016, when several diplomats stationed in Havana, Cuba began reporting symptoms consistent with head trauma, such as dizziness and extreme headaches. In subsequent years, there have been some 1,500 cases reported in 96 countries around the world, including at least 60 clusters of incidents in Colombia and Austria.

Wednesday’s finding reiterates an interim assessment by the CIA from January 2022, which found that the majority of “Havana Syndrome” cases could be attributed to “medical conditions or environmental and technical factors, including previously undiagnosed illnesses, and many more reports made out of an abundance of caution.”

A CIA official at the time asserted, “This finding does not—it does not—call into question the fact that our officers are reporting real experiences and are suffering real symptoms, nor does it explain every report.”

Wednesday’s assessment of the origin of “Havana Syndrome” does not provide definitive answers regarding its cause, either, stating instead that there is no one explanation for the incidents. 

Sufferers were reportedly notified in recent days that the “Havana Syndrome” assessment was coming, and some received a call from CIA Director William Burns.

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