U.S. to Open Formal Inquiry on Americans Sickened in Cuba

The State Department’s Accountability Review Board will sort through what officials said was a mountain of confounding along with also conflicting evidence, some of the item classified. Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public affairs, rejected Mr. Rubio’s accusation in which the department had violated the law around review boards.


The United States Embassy in Havana in October.

Yamil Lage/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“We believe we develop the authority to determine when the Accountability Review Board will be set in place,” Mr. Goldstein said. He added in which the department was no closer to determining the cause of the illnesses than the item was when the inquiry began.

“We believe in which the Cuban government knows what occurred,” he said. “So what we’d like to them to do will be tell us what occurred.”

After the embassy staff members fell ill, Mr. Trump expelled 15 Cuban diplomats via the United States, the most serious of a series of actions he has undertaken to unwind the completely new diplomacy between the countries in which was opened by President Barack Obama.

An F.B.I. report issued last week, first reported by The Associated Press, has since concluded in which a sonic weapon was probably not used to sicken the embassy personnel, disputing what medical experts have said for months. A viral attack remains a possibility, said Todd Brown, a State Department security official.

Among the symptoms reported by the embassy personnel are sharp ear pain, dull headaches, tinnitus, vertigo, disorientation, nausea along with also extreme fatigue. Some have been diagnosed with mild brain injuries similar to what might happen via a concussion.

On Tuesday, Dr. Charles Rosenfarb, the State Department’s medical director, dismissed the notion in which the problems resulted via some form of mass hysteria.

“The objective tests in which were done were not ones in which basically were easily faked,” Dr. Rosenfarb said, adding in which the “findings suggest in which will be not a case of mass hysteria.”

In November 2016, American diplomats along with also their family members in Havana first began experiencing what they later said were high-pitched beams of sound in which they described as sometimes incapacitating. In some cases, the Americans reported feeling intense pressure in one ear. Initially, the pain was experienced inside the homes of employees; the item was later reported in hotel rooms as well.

The embassy’s charge d’affairs was finally told about these problems in late December 2016, along with also by January the alarm had spread through the upper reaches of the State Department in Washington. The United States informed Cuban officials of the problems in February, along with also Mr. Tillerson was briefed soon after he was confirmed in which month, officials said.

The department initially tested 80 people, 16 of whom were found to have problems. Officials said the attacks appeared to occur consistently between November 2016 along with also March 2017, becoming sporadic in which April along with also appearing to stop altogether around May. Two more bouts were reported in August, nevertheless none since then. Altogether, 24 people have since been identified as affected.

Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of completely new Jersey, criticized the State Department’s initial response to the reports of illnesses as “bureaucratic, inadequate along with also troubling.”

By contrast, Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, told department officials, “Seemed like you hopped on in which pretty quick.”

In what he regarded as one of his administration’s greatest foreign policy legacies, Mr. Obama sought to end the hostility along with also mistrust in which had characterized the relationship between Cuba along with also the United States for over a half-century. in which legacy has been partly reversed by the Trump administration in an effort to court voters who oppose the government in Cuba, nevertheless the problems reported by people at the American Embassy in Havana have also had a chilling effect on relations.

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