Pentagon says US official had ‘Havana syndrome’ at NATO Vilnius summit

“I can confirm that a senior DOD official experienced symptoms similar to those reported in anomalous health incidents,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told journalists in Washington when asked about a news report regarding the case.

“This person was there at the NATO Summit in Vilnius; not part of the secretary’s delegation that was also there during that time.”

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At the end of 2016, a number of employees at the US embassy in Havana and their families started complaining of symptoms including headaches, hearing loss, dizziness and nausea. The symptoms have become known as the Havana syndrome or anomalous health incidents (AHIs).

Similar complaints were also reported elsewhere in the world. Those affected have stated that the symptoms appeared after hearing a strange noise or feeling strong pressure in their head.

The US government initially did not rule out the possibility that the symptoms could have been some kind of attack.

Just over a year ago, an official report cited five of seven US intelligence agencies as saying that it was “very unlikely” that the a “foreign adversary” was responsible for the cases, after reviewing more than 1,500 “anomalous health incidents.”

Instead, the reported complaints were probably the result of pre-existing conditions, other illnesses or environmental factors, the unclassified report said.

On Monday, journalists from German magazine Der Spiegel, together with colleagues from the US broadcaster CBS’s 60 Minutes and magazine The Insider, published a report citing a US military investigator as saying that the Russian secret service could be behind the Havana syndrome.

Der Spiegel also quotes a person affected who claims that the first cases of the syndrome emerged as early as 2014 at the US consulate in Frankfurt. CBS also mentioned the case in Vilnius in its report.

The US State Department said it did not wish to confirm or comment on the reports. They had provided extensive compensation and support to affected employees with the help of the Havana Act.

Lithuanian News

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