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USA stands by claim workers attacked in Cuba, maybe by virus

12 January 2018

Rubio and Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) also said they had learned the State Department officials initially rebuffed the first diplomats who complained of the mysterious symptoms, and didn't tell incoming USA diplomats to Cuba of the potential medical threat that accompanied taking the assignment.

US investigators believe American diplomats and others in Havana may have been attacked by a sonic weapon earlier this year causing them to suffer hearing loss, dizziness, headaches and fatigue.

Now, US press reports suggest that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents dispatched to Havana have been able to find no evidence to support the acoustic or sonic weapon theory.

The State Department waited almost one year before standing up an independent investigative panel, known as an Accountability Review Board, to probe the unexplained attacks on USA personnel working in Cuba and their family members.

"First of all, no matter what, there is no way you can conduct sophisticated attacks targeting American government officials in Havana without the Cuban government at least knowing about it", Rubio said.

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Questions about whether Russian Federation was somehow responsible for the attacks were deferred by State Department officials to the future classified hearing.

Vidal's response: "The State Department does not have any evidence that allows it to affirm that there have been attacks against its diplomats in Havana, nor that Cuba may be responsible or have knowledge of the actions of third parties". Tillerson said. "I will push back on anybody who wants to force me to [send them back prematurely]".

As we've said previously, based on continued assessment of USA government personnel, 24 persons are confirmed to have experienced health effects.

Dr. Charles Rosenfarb, the director of the State Department's medical unit, said doctors tested the victims extensively and found the symptoms were consistent with "mild traumatic brain injury", and stressed that the tests "are not easily faked", though no cause has been confirmed or ruled out.

Top State Department officials testifying on Capitol Hill pushed back strongly on suggestions from some lawmakers that Americans had not been attacked in Cuba. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told the news outlet over the weekend he is skeptical that the attacks even occurred after speaking with Cuban authorities.

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The lack of answers more than a year after the incidents started has emboldened Cuba's defenders to argue the US can't be certain anyone was harmed intentionally — especially since no proof has been publicly presented.

US diplomats will not be returning to Cuba anytime soon, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday morning, as a Senate Committee prepared to review the alleged attacks. The effects ranged from hearing loss to cognitive issues to difficulty sleeping.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the subcommittee chairman, is a vocal opponent of rapprochement with the Cuban government.

"It's a documented FACT that 24 USA government officials and spouses were victims of some sort of sophisticated attack with stationed in Havana", Rubio tweeted Sunday.

"Maybe it wasn't acoustic, maybe they used microwaves, but that is irrelevant", he told reporters on Capitol Hill. He said he will not reverse his decision to keep all but essential US diplomats out of Cuba until he can be assured they will be safe. "Cuba is a security state, the Cuban government in general has a very tight lid on anything and everything that happens in that country".

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After decades of hostility between the United States and Cuba, the U.S. Embassy reopened in 2015 as part of moves by former President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, to mend ties.

USA stands by claim workers attacked in Cuba, maybe by virus