The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the mysterious, neurological affliction known as Havana Syndrome that has struck American diplomats, military personnel and intelligence officials is most likely not the result of attacks by foreign adversaries.
The National Intelligence Council assessment issued Wednesday after a yearslong probe into the cause of the “anomalous health incidents” reported by hundred of government officials refuted long-held suspicions that the often debilitating symptoms were caused by microwave or directed-energy weapons operated clandestinely by an enemy nation.
The intelligence agencies said a foreign adversary probably wasn’t a “causal mechanism” behind the health maladies. Instead, the intelligence assessment blamed the symptoms on preexisting conditions, conventional illnesses and environmental factors.
Hundreds of government officials have suffered from the illness since it was diagnosed in 2016 among scores of U.S. Embassy staff in Cuba.
Five intelligence community-member agencies involved in the investigation concluded that “available intelligence consistently points against the involvement of U.S. adversaries as causing the reported incidents.”
“A review of intelligence reporting, open-source information, and scientific and medical literature about foreign weapons and research programs, as well as engagement with researchers inside and outside of the U.S. Government have led IC agencies to judge that there is no credible evidence that a foreign adversary has a weapon or collection device that is causing AHI’s,” the report said.
Confidence in the final assessment varied among agencies involved in the probe. Two agencies issued the assessment with moderate-to-high confidence, while three agencies assessed with moderate confidence.
Senior Biden administration officials ramped up efforts to treat those with the mysterious symptoms, which a National Academy of Sciences report from December said “are consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radiofrequency (RF) energy.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Director William J. Burns have both made firm commitments to determining the cause, and ensuring victims are cared for.
Mr. Burns told NPR in 2021 that the attacks on CIA personnel were among his top priorities.
That same year, Mr. Burns recalled the chief of station in Vienna after agency officials determined he did not adequately address multiple anomalous health incidents in Austria.