Updated Mar 2, 2023, 10:47am EST
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‘Havana syndrome’ is not caused by a foreign enemy, intelligence report finds

REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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The News

Foreign adversaries with secret weapons are not behind the mysterious illness called ‘Havana syndrome’ that has afflicted hundreds of U.S. diplomats, according to an intelligence report released Wednesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The ailment’s symptoms include nausea, pressures in the head, ringing in the ears, and headaches, leading to cognitive difficulties, according to those who have endured it for years.

The intelligence report concluded that the symptoms were “probably” due to other factors such as “preexisting conditions, conventional illnesses, and environmental factors.”

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For years, U.S. personnel believed the pain to be associated with possible energy attacks from Russia or other U.S. adversaries. However, the National Intelligence office ruled out that possibility in their interim findings last year.

For the latest report, seven intelligence agencies reviewed roughly 1,000 cases of “anomalous health incidents.” Five of those agencies said that it is “very unlikely” that a foreign adversary weaponizing energy waves was responsible for the incidents. The Washington Post first reported on the new intelligence findings.


A group of U.S. diplomats and spies first reported symptoms at the U.S. embassy in Havana in 2016. Since then, analysts have looked into whether cases had common links, but the latest report concludes that it is “very unlikely” or “unlikely” that an adversary deliberately targeted officials.

“Needless to say, these findings do not call into question the very real experiences and symptoms that our colleagues and their family members have reported,” the Director of National Intelligence Avril D. Haines said in a statement.

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The latest findings contradict an earlier intelligence assessment from Feb. 2022 which said that symptoms were likely caused by directed electromagnetic energy delivered by “an external device.”

In January, another CIA assessment ruled out that symptoms were a result of a ”sustained global campaign by a hostile foreign power to injure Americans,” NBC News reported. However, there were roughly two dozen cases in which it could not rule out a hostile cause.

With the new intelligence report, it appears that experts have shut down the possibility of any adversarial entity being a perpetrator of ‘Havana syndrome.’