(National Sentinel) Diplomacy: U.S. State Department employees were subjected to “acoustic attacks” in late 2016 that left at least two of them so sick they were forced to return home, CNN reported Thursday.
One official said that employees could have suffered permanent loss of hearing due to the attacks. Additionally, the employees who were affected were not at the same place at the same time, and suffered injuries that mimic concussions.
CNN noted further:
The State Department raised the incidents with the Cuban government over the course of several months and sent medical personnel to Havana, but have not been able to determine exactly what happened.
“It can be quite serious,” one official told CNN. “We have worked with the Cubans to try and find out what is going on. They insist they don’t know, but it has been very worrying and troublesome.”
The FBI is now looking into the matter, the officials said.
“It’s very strange,” one official said.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Wednesday said that “some US government personnel” working at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba on official duty reported some incidents that were causing “physical symptoms.” But she could not elaborate on the nature or cause of the incidents.
“Because there are a variety of symptoms, there could be a variety of sources,” one US official said. “That is why we are being very careful here with what we say. There is a lot we still don’t know.”
State Dept. officials complained for years they were harassed by Cuban government officials, including automobile break-ins and home breaches. However, after the two countries reestablished diplomatic ties in 2015, the campaign of intimidation ended.
“The Cuban government has a responsibility and an obligation under the Geneva convention to protect our diplomats,” Nauert told reporters, “so that is part of the reason why this is such a major concern of ours.”
A statement from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday categorically denied any Cuban involvement, CNN reported.
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