By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – The director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency reportedly warned Russia’s secret services of “consequences” if they are behind health incidents known as “Havana Syndrome” afflicting U.S. diplomats and spies worldwide.
During a recent visit to Moscow, CIA chief William J. Burns raised the issue with Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, and the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service, said The Washington Post newspaper Wednesday.
Burns reportedly told them that causing U.S. personnel and their families to suffer severe brain damage and other debilitating ailments goes beyond acceptable behavior for a “professional intelligence service.”
The Washington Post cited U.S. officials familiar with this month’s exchange, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss highly sensitive conversations.
The warning did not assign blame for what U.S. officials are calling “anomalous health incidents,” or AHIs.
The director’s decision to raise the possibility of Russian involvement directly to his counterparts in Moscow underscored reported suspicion the CIA has of Kremlin involvement.
The CIA declined to comment on Burns’s warning to the Russians, while the Russian Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
Moscow has previously denied any involvement in the mysterious Havana Syndrome incidents.
The illness was named after the Cuban capital, where U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers first cited unusual and varied symptoms — from headaches and vision problems to dizziness and brain injuries — that started in 2016.
Burns has publicly described the incidents as “attacks,” and some U.S. officials suspect they are the work of Russian operatives.
Those blaming Russia claim it could be using energy weapons to sicken U.S. personnel. Skeptics counter that there is scant evidence connecting the use of energy weapons to the symptoms reported.
Other officials have attributed them to a psychogenic illness experienced by individuals working in a high-stress environment.
Last month, President Joe Biden signed into law a measure that will direct additional government support to diplomats and government officials affected by the syndrome.
In July, an officer who helped find terrorist Osama bin Laden was tasked by the CIA with investigating the syndrome and its origins.
More than 200 health incidents have been reported worldwide in the past five years, on every continent except Antarctica.
The Havana Syndrome mystery added another element to tense bilateral tensions as the U.S. determines whether Russia is preparing for a possible full invasion of Ukraine.
Nearly 100,000 Russian troops are believed to be stationed along the border with Ukraine, where Moscow already annexed the Crimea Peninsula in 2014.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden says it is seeking to de-escalate the situation amid calls from Republicans to send more military aid to Ukraine.
“We’re not sure exactly what Mr. Putin is up to,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week.
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