US Studies Possible Viral Attacks on its Diplomats in Cuba

US Studies Possible Viral Attacks on its Diplomats in Cuba

The State Department claims its diplomats in Havana were subjected to some kind of attack that produced a range of physical symptoms including hearing loss, headaches and dizziness.

US officials have been unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the injuries that were inflicted on the diplomats - some of whom were reported to be part of aU.S. spy network - and their families, but all of them reported hearing loud, high-pitched sounds when they were at various locations throughout Havana.

Flake added he will not discuss what he has seen in a classified setting, but with the Federal Bureau of Investigation already visiting the country five times to rule out such an attack, the cause of the mysterious illnesses is still unknown.

The Cuban government has denied any role in the health assaults, instead claiming USA diplomats mistook the sounds of insects for an acoustic attack. Officials said the attacks appeared to occur consistently between November 2016 and March 2017, becoming sporadic that April and appearing to stop altogether around May.

"I don't think we can say categorically that we can guarantee that they would be safe from this (if staffers return)", Brown told the hearing, chaired by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American and strong critic of Cuba.

Rubio countered Flake on Sunday in a series of tweets, saying the attacks are "documented fact". They said each had a major hole that couldn't be explained and was ultimately ruled out.

An Accountability Review Board is an independent reviewer of security-related incidents set up by the State Department used in response to incidents like the 2012 attack on the USA government facilities in Benghazi. State Department officials will also deliver statements as well as medical proof of injuries to members of Congress at the Senate of Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Robert Menendez, a Cuban-American and ranking Democrat on the Western Hemisphere subcommittee, said Cuba had failed to meet its worldwide obligations but also that the State Department response had been "inadequate and troubling".

At the end of September Trump ordered the removal of more than half of the United States embassy staff in Havana and shortly after he expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington.

Lawmakers also asked whether rogue elements of the Cuban government or security services or a third party such as Russian Federation might have been involved.

Announced in December 2014, the thawing of U.S. -Cuba relations did not officially take effect until July 2015 when the two countries reopened their respective embassies in Washington and Havana, among other actions.

"It's a documented FACT that 24 US government officials and spouses were victims of some sort of sophisticated attack with stationed in Havana", Rubio tweeted Sunday.

"The method that was used to attack them is not yet clear".

Cuba has decried the reductions as an unjustified blow to U.S.

The Trump Administration is studying whether a virus could be the source of the health problems suffered by 24 of its diplomats in Cuba, said a senior official of the State Department in the US Senate.

About two years after former U.S. President Barack Obama made a decision to deepen engagement with the Cuban government, American government personnel began showing signs "similar to what might be seen in patients following mild traumatic brain injury or concussion", testified Dr. Charles Rosenfarb, the medical director for DOS's Bureau of Medical Services.

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