Not So Fast: Lawmakers Criticize CIA’s Report On Causes Of Havana Syndrome
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) revealed that the intelligence community’s expert panel on Havana Syndrome will wrap up its work “in about 10 days,” and he questioned why the CIA would release its assessment ahead of that group’s work, Politico reported.
Lawmakers Skewer Interim CIA Report On Havana Syndrome
Top senators are downplaying and criticizing a new interim CIA assessment on the mysterious illness known as Havana Syndrome, the latest salvo in a years-long battle for transparency between Capitol Hill and the intelligence agencies. The interim report, detailed to POLITICO on Wednesday by three intelligence officials, assesses that the health incidents aren’t the result of a sustained global campaign by a U.S. foe to harm hundreds of American diplomats posted overseas. But it did not rule out the possibility that a foreign actor or sophisticated weapon is behind the phenomenon in a smaller number of cases that remain unresolved. (Desiderio, 1/20)
CIA Backtracks On Havana Syndrome After Director Issued Warning To Russian Spies
Advocates for some of the reported Havana Syndrome victims have condemned the agency's interim assessment. "The decision to release the report now and with this particular set of 'findings' seems a breach of faith, and an undermining of the intent of Congress and the president to stand with us and reach a government-wide consensus as to what is behind this," they said in a statement issued to Politico. "This report was neither cleared nor coordinated through the interagency and must stand as the assessment of one agency (CIA) alone." (Dutton, 1/20)
CIA Says Foreign Actor May Be Behind Some Havana Syndrome Cases
The CIA has assessed that the "majority" of reported cases of unexplained medical symptoms known as "Havana syndrome" can be "reasonably explained by medical conditions or environmental and technical factors," a senior CIA official told ABC News. The spy agency has assessed it's "unlikely that a foreign actor, including Russia, is conducting a sustained, worldwide campaign harming U.S. personnel with a weapon or mechanism," they added. But they left the door open to the possibility that some personnel have been attacked by a still-unknown actor or device, saying a foreign actor's role has not been ruled out "in specific cases. We're still looking." (Finnegan and Smith, 1/20)