US State Department to investigate 'sonic attacks' in Cuba

Sen. Jeff Flake

Jeff Flake Defends Castro Regime ‘No Evidence’ of Sonic Attacks in Cuba Screenshot by Ben Kew8 Jan 20180 8 Jan 2018 8 Jan 2018

Tillerson has said that he believes that the Cuban government could have prevented the attacks, and that it has failed to live up to its obligations to protect foreign diplomats.

Asked whether it was possible that the Cuban government would have been unaware of any attacks, he said: "I find it very hard to believe that".

The United States is investigating a range of possibilities beyond "sonic attacks" for the cause of US diplomats' mysterious illnesses in Cuba, the Trump administration told Congress on Tuesday, including the possibility of a viral attack.

"I categorically reiterate that the Cuban government has no responsibility whatsoever in the health conditions reported by US diplomats", she said.

While symptoms the diplomats and their family members experienced varied, Rubio also reported that in all 24 medically confirmed cases, victims have described some combination of the following: "sharp ear pain, boring headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, visual focusing issues, disorientation, nausea, and extreme fatigue".

KELEMEN: The only thing State Department officials have ruled out is that this is a case of mass hysteria.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the subcommittee chairman, is a vocal opponent of rapprochement with the Cuban government. Securing the USA border and figuring out how to normalize the status of "the 10 million to 15 million undocumented immigrants" already here - "who, let's be honest, will not and should not be forcibly removed" - are the two biggest challenges, they add, and "when prioritizing the immigration problems we face, the case of 200,000 Salvadorans who accepted our invitation to live and work here legally would not even make a Top 10 list". The State Department officials said they could not address or speculate on such matters in a public hearing.

"I do know other type of attacks are being considered in a connection with this", he said. A new Federal Bureau of Investigation report said there's no evidence backing up the initial theory of a sonic weapon.

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In August, reports emerged that up to 24 U.S. government employees at U.S. Embassy in Havana were afflicted by unexplained incidents that were later characterized as 'sonic attacks.' Though the State Department has never accused the Cuban government of perpetrating the alleged attacks, U.S. President Donald Trump has and other U.S. leaders have indicated that Cuban officials have information concerning the claims.

However, Tillerson remains adamant, defending the order to evacuate saying US federal personnel, citizens and their families and saying he would not renounce the decision until the "deliberate attacks" were stopped.

So far, the State Department has confirmed 24 cases of a USA employee in Havana sustaining harm. The officials told senators the USA government knew of no weapon, sonic or otherwise, that could produce the effects seen in the Cuba patients.

Cuba has not questioned the health problems that the USA diplomats have suffered, but assures they were not the result of any attack.

"Any U.S. official briefed on matter knows full well that while method of attack still in question, that attacks & injuries occurred isn't", he added in another tweet. 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.

"I'd be intentionally putting them back in harm's way", he said.

At the end of the hearing, Rubio suggested that a rogue element of the Cuban government or an outside party such as Russian Federation could have perpetrated the attacks.

"We understand the Cubans don't like the actions we've taken", Tillerson said at the news conference last month.

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