Rubio To Hold Hearing On 'Sonic Attacks' On US Diplomats In Cuba

Tillerson tells AP Cuba still risky FBI doubts sonic attack

Rubio calls Cuba sonic attacks a “documented fact” after GOP colleague questions evidence | The Sacramento Bee

A senior US official told senators at a Senate hearing Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will open a high-level investigation into unexplained "sonic attacks" that physically affected diplomats at the embassy in Cuba previous year.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) also said recently the United States has found no evidence that American diplomats in Havana were the victims of attacks with an unknown weapon. It is still unclear what caused the injuries, but Mr. Rubio said it was an intentional attack.

Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the USA had found no evidence of an attack on its diplomats in Cuba, according to the Associated Press. The effects ranged from hearing loss to cognitive issues to difficulty sleeping. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a longtime advocate of improving ties with Cuba, said there is no evidence of a sonic attack.

"If the Federal Bureau of Investigation has determined that is not the case ... that doesn't mean that an acoustic element couldn't be part of another style of attack here and I do know that other types of attacks are being considered in connection with this", Brown said, adding that a viral attack would include someone intentionally planting a virus that affects cognitive function. He added that other possible explanations also are being considered, including a viral agent or microwaves. State Department officials will also deliver statements as well as medical proof of injuries to members of Congress at the Senate of Foreign Relations Committee. They have seen no evidence it was "an episode of mass hysteria" among the 24 affected USA personnel and family members, a senior State Department medical officer told a Senate hearing.

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.

Three State Department officials are scheduled to testify.

Palmieri said that the State Department then began identifying "these unusual events" with certain health symptoms and approached the Cuban government in mid-February to demand it meet its obligations under the Vienna Convention to protect US personnel in Havana.

"We reject the politicization of this matter and the unjustified measures that the government of the United States has adopted with a high cost for our population, Cuba emigration and the American people", said Vidal. He said there is no reason to assume it was a deliberate attack, but refused to give details about the content that had led him to this conclusion. So far, US officials have not confirmed what caused the it or who was behind it.

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"It's a documented fact that 24 US government officials and spouses were victims of some sort of sophisticated attack while stationed in Havana", Rubio said Sunday.

Tillerson has continued to defend his decision to remove USA diplomats and their relatives from Cuba in September. Tillerson ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel from the embassy in Havana in late September after coming to the conclusion that it was the "only way to significantly reduce the risk to our diplomats and their families".

At the end of September Trump ordered the removal of more than half of the USA embassy staff in Havana and shortly after he expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington. "I think that lends credence to my argument, which is this is an attack that is so sophisticated against 24 Americans that it had to be conducted on behalf of a nation-state, whether it was rogue elements of the Cuban regime, the regime itself or a third-party country".

Flake, one of U.S. President Donald Trump's toughest Republican critics, announced a year ago that he would not seek re-election as Senator from Arizona.

Cuba has decried the reductions as an unjustified blow to U.S.

"I'd be intentionally putting them back in harm's way". "So what we'd like to them to do is tell us what occurred".

Sen. Rubio took to Twitter on Sunday to push back against Flake's comments.

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