US report says 'Havana syndrome' not caused by enemy
An extensive US intelligence community investigation has concluded it is "very unlikely" a foreign adversary was responsible for the "Havana syndrome" ailments that have afflicted the country's diplomats and intelligence officers worldwide, according to declassified findings.
The mysterious ailment, first reported among US officials in the Cuban capital in 2016, has afflicted US diplomats, officials and family members overseas.
Symptoms have included migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness.
The US intelligence assessment found no credible evidence that any adversary had a weapon or device capable of causing symptoms consistent with the syndrome.
Instead, officials said, there is more evidence that other countries were not involved.
In some cases, the US detected among adversarial governments confusion about the allegations and suspicions that Havana syndrome was a US plot.
Two officials familiar with the assessment briefed reporters on Wednesday on condition of anonymity, under ground rules set by the US Director of National Intelligence.
Investigators reviewed about 1500 cases in 96 countries.
Many of those cases, officials said, have been linked to other potential explanations aside from a foreign campaign: medical illnesses, malfunctioning air conditioning and ventilation systems, or electromagnetic waves coming from benign devices like a computer mouse.
In some instances, personnel who were part of the investigation were on the ground in places while new reports of possible Havana syndrome cases came in.
Seven US agencies participated in the probe.
As part of the investigation, which lasted more than six years, US intelligence agencies considered the possibility that extraterrestrials were responsible for the Havana syndrome but ruled that out, a US official said in a briefing to reporters.
In January, a CIA official said the agency found it was unlikely that Russia or another "foreign actor" caused most of the anomalous health incidents.
That official, describing the conclusions of an interim report on the Havana syndrome, said a majority of 1000 cases "can be reasonably explained by medical conditions or environmental and technical factors, including previously undiagnosed illnesses".