CIA says ‘Havana Syndrome’ not a foreign conspiracy: All you need to know

CIA says ‘Havana Syndrome’ not a foreign conspiracy: All you need to know



After months of speculation and reports, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded that US diplomats suffering what has been dubbed ‘Havana Syndrome’ were not targeted by a foreign power.


Here’s a look at what the mystery was, and what the CIA concluded, according to reports.


What is ‘Havana Syndrome’?

The mysterious condition came to public attention in 2016 after dozens of diplomats at the American embassy in Havana, Cuba, started complaining of sickness.

Their symptoms included migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness. Some of the people who experienced it were left with symptoms for months.

The latest cases include one person who had to be evacuate from Switzerland to the US for treatment.

ALSO READ: No involvement in so-called ‘Havana Syndrome’ attacks: Russia


How many ‘cases’ were reported and investigated?

Over the past five year, thousands of alleged cases of the mystery condition have been reported by diplomats; spies and US officials across a wide variety of geographies including in Vienna, Paris, Geneva, Beijing, and Havana, among others.


According to a report in the New York Times, 1,000 cases reviewed by US investigators were explainable.


A CIA report concluded that these cases can be explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, rather than actions by a foreign power.


The report further said that two dozen cases remain unexplained.



Case also reported in India?

In September 2021, a member of CIA director Bill Burns’ delegation reported symptoms consistent with the ‘Havana Syndrome’ and had to receive medical attention.


What was originally suspected?

US officials have previously alleged the cases could have been caused by Russian microwave attacks; but scientists expressed doubts about the theory.

Russia, China and the US itself are all said to have researched microwaves for military purposes but Moscow has dismissed accusations as “fanciful hypotheses”.

ALSO READ: Havana Syndrome: FBI makes it a top priority, will continue to ‘identify the cause


What did the report find?

According to details of the report published by the New York Times; the mysterious ailment is unlikely to have been caused by Russia or another foreign adversary.


The reports said the CIA did not rule out foreign involvement in the cases that remain unexplained; which continue to be investigated.


“In hundreds of other cases of possible symptoms, the agency has found plausible, alternate explanations,” according to NBC sources.


But CIA Director Bill Burns said in a statement that the mission to investigate these incidents will continue. “While we have reached some significant findings, we are not done… we will continue the mission to investigate these incidents and provide access to world-class care for those who need it,” said Burns.


Controversy over CIA’s findings

The interim findings elicited frustration from some of those who fell ill.

This includes the current and former officials who have been battling chronic ailments for years without an explanation.

A group of such people said the CIA assessment “cannot and must not be the final word on the matter”, according to a statement cited by the New York Times.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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