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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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U.S.

Report: ‘Havana syndrome’ could be due to external factors

Mar 31, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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A newly released report by an expert panel in the intelligence community states “Havana syndrome” cannot be explained by known environmental or medical conditions, and could be due to external factors. The report says one plausible explanation is electromagnetic energy that could be transmitted using an antenna or other concealable source.

Havana syndrome is a set of symptoms which include vertigo, ringing in the ears, headaches, fatigue and more. It was first reported in 2016 by CIA employees who worked in the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The government has never determined exactly what it is or what caused it, but did say it’s unlikely it was caused by a foreign adversary. The expert panel did not look into that. 

More than 1,000 federal government employees around the world have experienced these symptoms, including members of the State Department, FBI and CIA. Family members of these employees have also experienced the symptoms. The State Department says it will continue to support those who have it. 

“We’re going to continue to see to it that our colleagues who report these incidents are treated with respect and compassion, receive timely access to medical care and will continue to process HAVANA Act payments based on the eligibility criteria that’s been spelled out,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price. 

The panel found that while Havana syndrome symptoms are common, a combination of four is “distinctly unusual, is unreported elsewhere in the medical literature, so far has not been associated with a specific neurological abnormality.”

The report also said that electromagnetic waves that could create these symptoms can be sent from hundreds of meters away and go through buildings.

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RAY BOGAN: A NEWLY RELEASED REPORT BY AN EXPERT PANEL IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY STATES HAVANA SYNDROME CANNOT BE EXPLAINED BY KNOWN ENVIRONMENTAL OR MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND COULD BE DUE TO EXTERNAL FACTORS. THE REPORT SAYS ONE PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION IS ELECTROMAGNETIC ENERGY THAT COULD BE TRANSMITTED USING AN ANTENNA OR OTHER CONCEALABLE SOURCE.

HAVANA SYNDROME IS A SET OF SYMPTOMS WHICH INCLUDE VERTIGO, RINGING IN THE EARS, HEADACHES, FATIGUE AND MORE. IT WAS FIRST REPORTED IN 2016 BY CIA EMPLOYEES WHO WORKED IN THE US EMBASSY IN HAVANA. THE GOVERNMENT HAS NEVER DETERMINED EXACTLY WHAT IT IS OR WHAT CAUSED IT, BUT DID SAY IT’S UNLIKELY IT WAS CAUSED BY A FOREIGN ADVERSARY. THE EXPERT PANEL DID NOT LOOK INTO THAT. 

MORE THAN 1,000 FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AROUND THE WORLD HAVE EXPERIENCED THESE SYMPTOMS, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT, FBI, AND CIA. FAMILY MEMBERS OF THESE EMPLOYEES HAVE ALSO EXPERIENCED THE SYMPTOMS. THE STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS IT WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THOSE WHO HAVE IT. 

NED PRICE | U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: “We’re going to continue to see to it that our colleagues who report these incidents are treated with respect and compassion, receive timely access to medical care and will continue to process Havana Act payments based on the eligibility criteria that’s been spelled out.”

THE PANEL FOUND THAT WHILE HAVANA SYNDROME SYMPTOMS ARE COMMON, A COMBINATION OF FOUR IS QUOTE “DISTINCTLY UNUSUAL, IS UNREPORTED ELSEWHERE IN THE MEDICAL LITERATURE, AND SO FAR HAS NOT BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH A SPECIFIC NEUROLOGICAL ABNORMALITY. 

THE REPORT ALSO SAID THAT ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVES THAT COULD CREATE THESE SYMPTOMS CAN BE SENT FROM HUNDREDS OF METERS AWAY, AND GO THROUGH BUILDINGS.