US Studies Possible Viral Attacks on its Diplomats in Cuba

Rubio disputes Flake's account that diplomats weren't attacked in Havana

In tweets, Rubio addresses 'sophisticated attack' in Havana

"It is impossible to conduct 24 separate and sophisticated attacks on US government personnel in Havana without Castro regime knowing about it", Rubio said.

The FBI is already looking into what may have caused USA personnel in Havana to experience symptoms ranging from hearing loss to nausea to severe headaches.

An interim Federal Bureau of Investigation report, issued Thursday, said agents had found no evidence that air pressure waves via audible sound, infrasound or ultrasound were used to secretly target the Americans, raising doubts about initial reports that the Americans were hit by a futuristic sonic attack, the AP reported. They have seen no evidence it was "an episode of mass hysteria" among the 24 affected USA personnel and family members, a senior State Department medical officer told a Senate hearing.

Nevertheless, citing the Cuban government, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argues the United States has found "no evidence" that the communist country is behind the attacks. He said he will not reverse his decision to keep all but essential USA diplomats out of Cuba until he can be assured they will be safe.

The State Department withdrew most personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Havana last fall and expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington.

The FBI has found no evidence that American diplomats in Havana were the victims of attacks with unknown weapons, according to Republican Sen.

Palmieri said the attacks originally were classified as "harassment". There's ultrasound. You know, there's a range of things that the technical experts are looking at as, could this be a possibility?

Flake, one of U.S. President Donald Trump's toughest Republican critics, announced previous year that he would not seek re-election as Senator from Arizona. "The State Department doesn't disagree with that assessment", said Flake.

While symptoms the diplomats and their family members experienced varied, Rubio also reported that in all 24 medically confirmed cases, victims have described some combination of the following: "sharp ear pain, boring headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, visual focusing issues, disorientation, nausea, and extreme fatigue".

Palmieri said that the State Department then began identifying "these unusual events" with certain health symptoms and approached the Cuban government in mid-February to demand it meet its obligations under the Vienna Convention to protect USA personnel in Havana. The United States pulled out more than half of its personnel there in September. Marco Rubio pushed back against claims that nearly two dozen US diplomats in Havana were victims of an illness, not an attack by the Cuban government.

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

While Cuban officials have vigorously denied any involvement in the incidents, President Donald Trump said in 2017 that the Cubans were "responsible" for the diplomats falling ill.

Rubio, a Cuban-American and dogged critic of the Cuban government, will lead the Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing, which will look into the unexplained illnesses that befell U.S. diplomats and their family members and the State Department's response.

On Tuesday, in a hearing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, State Department officials said they would open a review board into their own handling of the issue but could offer frustrated lawmakers little in the way of answers. It will be in addition to other USA probes, including one by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The U.S. administration used the media to spread diplomats suffered migraine, dizziness, loss of hearing and slight brain injuries during their work in Cuba.

About two years after former U.S. President Barack Obama chose 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. The matter has strained the newly reestablished relations between the Washington and Havana.

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