The mystery of the strange injuries to U.S. spies and diplomats from suspected “acoustic attacks” in Cuba might now be expanding to private travelers.
A State Department official told CBS News that the agency has received “a handful of reports from U.S. citizens who report they experienced similar symptoms following stays in Cuba.” These reports come after the State Department issued a travel warning on Sept. 29 urging U.S. citizens not to travel to Cuba because of the ongoing attacks.
The unnamed State Department official added, “We have no way of verifying whether they were harmed by the same attacks targeting official U.S. employees.”
At least 22 members of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Cuba, and possibly more, have experienced serious and lasting symptoms from the so–called sonic attacks, including traumatic brain injury and hearing loss. Injuries listed by the State Department’s travel advisory include “ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.”
The Canadian government also has said that several of its diplomats suffered similar injuries.
Gizmodo, which has been covering the attacks since they began nearly a year ago, noted this week that many of the targets allegedly were U.S. spies working under diplomatic cover.
After that report surfaced last Monday, the U.S. expelled 15 members of Cuba’s diplomatic staff from its embassy in Washington.
As Gizmodo’s Rhett Jones points out, “The fact that the State Department has kept details under wraps and the lack of substantial international press in Havana has only made it more difficult to get clarity on what’s going on. Cuba has vociferously denied any responsibility for the attacks and even allowed the FBI to come investigate.” But neither the FBI nor the CIA say they are any closer to determining the source of the attacks than they were a year ago, according to CBS.
According to the State Department advisory, “the Government of Cuba is responsible for taking all appropriate steps to prevent attacks on our diplomatic personnel and U.S. citizens in Cuba. Because our personnel’s safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe U.S. citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba.”