The response of the high-ranking diplomat to the sharp increase in incidents related to the mysterious illness was inadequate, reported the Washington Post newspaper on Thursday (local time), citing insider circles.
With the dismissal of the CIA chief officer, a prestigious position within the US secret service, a signal should also be sent to other top diplomats to take reports on the phenomenon of the “Havana Syndrome” seriously, according to the newspaper. In the Cuban capital, mainly between the end of 2016 and summer 2017, numerous employees of the US embassy or their relatives reported that they had heard unusual noises. They complained of complaints such as headaches, hearing problems, disorientation and poor concentration.
In the past few months, Vienna had developed into the syndrome’s “hotspot”. According to media reports, the second largest number of cases outside of Havana is recorded here. According to the CIA, around 200 representatives of the USA fell ill with “Havana Syndrome” worldwide.
As the “Washington Post” reported, “dozen” people in Vienna – not only embassy staff, but also their relatives, including children – are affected. As a result, the US operation in Austria was cut back and the operation of the US embassy in Vienna was impaired, reported a US official who wanted to remain anonymous.
The US embassy in Vienna refused to comment on the report and the rumored consequences for the operation of the diplomatic mission in response to an APA request and referred to the State Department in Washington. This explained to the APA that they do not comment on the embassy operations or specific reports about them, but that they take all reports “extremely seriously” and ensure that all employees concerned receive the necessary support and care. The reported cases would be examined and examined whether they could be attributed to a foreign actor. A State Department spokesman also referred to statements made by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who had assured employees that he was prioritizing the issue as part of his focus on ensuring the safety of workforce and their families.
William Burns, director of the US foreign intelligence service CIA, had described the incidents as “attacks”. If children were also deliberately targeted by these attacks, this was a “dramatic escalation” of the cause, explained intelligence experts to the Washington Post.
The United States of America suspected that those affected had been attacked with radio frequencies and that Russia was behind the attacks. The government in Moscow rejected this.
However, some experts also believe that the mysterious illness could have psychological causes and attribute this to the stress-intensive work environment. Despite four years of extensive investigations, the US government has not yet been able to find any clear reasons for the increase in the number of diseases and complaints.