CIA Director William J. Burns has warned Russia’s top intelligence services that they will face “consequences” if they are found to be behind a series of mysterious events. “Havana Syndrome” Which influenced American diplomats and spies around the world.
Unknown sources familiar with the matter said that Burns made the remarks earlier this month during a visit to Moscow, where he met with officials from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). on that occasiontold them that severe brain damage and other diseases resulting from acoustic events were beyond “acceptable to the professional intelligence service“.
Even then, The warning was not meant to imply that Burns blamed Russia for what US officials called “unusual health events” or IAH., The fact that Burns issued the warning with a conditional “yes” suggests that after four years of investigation across multiple administrations, the United States government is still unable to determine the cause of the episode.
However, the director’s decision to raise the possibility of direct Russian involvement with his counterparts in Moscow demonstrates the CIA’s deep suspicion of the Kremlin’s crime.
The CIA declined to comment on Burns’ warning to the Russians, which had so far been unreported. The Russian embassy in Washington also did not respond to requests for comment.
Moscow has denied any involvement in the incidents of so-called Havana syndrome, an event named after the Cuban capital, where US diplomats and intelligence officials first reported unusual and varied symptoms. That ranged from headaches and vision problems to dizziness and brain injury, which began in 2016.
with everything, The main purpose of Burns’ visit to Moscow was to inform the Kremlin that Washington was looking at building up troops along the Ukrainian border and would not tolerate a military attack on the country.officials said.
His presence in Moscow at the insistence of President Biden was designed to convey Washington’s seriousness. The CIA chief, a former under-secretary of state and ambassador to Russia, has handled some of the president‘s most sensitive missions, including high-level engagements with the Taliban since coming to power in Afghanistan.
Inability to determine cause of health incidents upsets members of Congress and enrages diplomats and influenced American intelligence officers.
The Joe Biden administration has tried to show that it takes these matters seriously and encourages employees throughout the federal government to report any potential health problems they may be experiencing.
In fact, in recent months, two top US officials were replaced after being accused of not taking such incidents seriously: Ambassador Pamela Spratlen, the head of the CIA station in Vienna, where dozens of American spies and diplomats have reported on IAH, and the top State Department official overseeing Havana syndrome cases.,
Following Spratlen’s firing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken appointed Jonathan Moore, a career diplomat, to lead the Health Incident Response Task Force and another senior Foreign Service officer, Margaret Uyehara, to ensure that the disease was prevented. Affected people get medical attention.
Burns publicly described the incidents as “assaults” and some US officials suspect they were the work of Russian operatives. Other authorities have attributed them to a psychological illness experienced by people working in high-stress environments. Those accusing Russia of speculation that it may have been using weapons to sicken American personnel. Others have noted that there is little evidence linking the use of energy weapons to the reported symptoms.
Last July, Burns appointed a senior CIA official who had led the search for Osama bin Laden to be in charge of a task force investigating the causes of diseases.
in August, Two US employees in Hanoi reported symptoms just before Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in the Vietnamese capital on an official diplomatic visit, The diagnosis delayed his visit for a few hours.
In September, an intelligence officer traveling with Burns to India reported symptoms of Havana syndrome and needed medical attention, current and former officials said. Some saw the incident as a message to CIA leaders that they too could be attacked anywhere.
Total, There have been more than 200 health events worldwide in the past five years on all continents except Antarctica, but there is still no clear pattern to explain them., In some cases, US employees have reported symptoms related to Havana syndrome, but upon further diagnosis, the illnesses were attributed to other factors, a senior administration official said.
The mysterious events sparked the rare bipartisan support behind the Havana Act, a bill signed by Biden last month that creates a federal program to compensate US diplomats, intelligence officers and other officials who have been hurt. . Traumatic brain disorder associated with Havana syndrome.
,We are using all of the resources of the US government to provide first-class medical care to those affected and get to the bottom of these incidents, including determining the cause and who is responsible.”, said Biden when signing the project.
The mystery of Havana syndrome adds another layer of complexity to relations between the United States and Russia, as the Biden administration tries to determine whether the concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine is a show of force or a prelude. massive invasion.
There have been several diplomatic contacts between US, Russian and Ukrainian officials in recent weeks. In addition to Burns’ discussions with FSB and SVR officials, he also called Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and met with Nikolai Petrushev, the head of Russia’s National Security Council. Blinken, for his part, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this month on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, and recently a senior State Department official was sent to Ukraine‘s capital, Kiev.