Fri, 24 Sep 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.: About 100 CIA officers and family members serving abroad have complained of ailments that include migraines and dizziness called the "Havana syndrome," CIA Director William Burns said on Thursday.

In all, some 200 U.S. embassy officials and family members have complained of suffering from "Havana syndrome," symptoms.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Burns said he has increased efforts at the CIA to determine the cause of the syndrome and who or what is responsible.

Burns confirmed that he has assigned a senior officer who once led the hunt for Osama bin Laden to head the group investigating the syndrome, and said he tripled the size of the medical team involved in the probe.

"It's a profound obligation, I think, of any leader to take care of your people, and that is what I am determined to do," Burns said. He became CIA director in March.

Havana Syndrome, first reported in Cuba in 2016, struck American embassy staff who complained of dizziness, nausea, migraines and memory lapses.

Burns mentioned that a U.S. National Academy of Sciences panel earlier said that a plausible theory is that "directed energy" beams caused the illness.

Burns noted that there is a "very strong possibility" that the syndrome is intentionally caused, and that Russia could be responsible, he said.

Moscow denies involvement.

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