Unnamed U.S. officials told NBC News in a report published Monday that experts studying the unexplained attacks on American diplomats in Cuba and China that have left some with brain damage and “concussion-like” symptoms believe the Russian government “is likely behind the alleged attacks.”
NBC noted that the officials they spoke to insisted the evidence is not “conclusive” and did not present any evidence tying the incidents to Moscow. The report also noted that the suspicion appears to end at the attacks in Havana, not including the damage sustained by U.S. citizens in Guangzhou, China.
Medical experts studying the two dozen victims of the attacks in Cuba suggested last week that the technology to cause brain damage without blunt force trauma exists and that the use of a microwave weapon is at the top of the list of possible explanations. The communist regime governing Havana rejects the claim that the incidents were intentional attacks and has accused the American victims of fabricating symptoms despite extensive medical documentation for them.
The five people NBC News spoke to – “three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation” – described Russia as a “main suspect” in the attacks, immediately dismissing Cuba as a prime suspect despite evidence suggesting that Cuba has used sonic torture on political prisoners for decades. The outlet cites “evidence from communications intercepts … amassed during a lengthy and ongoing investigation involving the FBI, the CIA and other U.S. agencies” as supporting the claims, without elaborating.
In a report published Tuesday, CBS News also cited an unnamed U.S. official who told the outlet that American intelligence suspects that Russia “aided” the attack though it was primarily a Cuban operation.
Officials and experts studying the cases who have spoken on record have not suggested that anyone other than the Castro regime are to blame for the attacks. In a briefing to top defense officials, Dr. James Giordano, chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program at Georgetown University, said that the attackers likely used “some form of electromagnetic pulse generation and/or hypersonic generation that would then utilize the architecture of the skull to create something of an energetic amplifier or lens to induce a cavitational effect that would then induce the type of pathologic changes that would then induce the constellation of signs and symptoms that we’re seeing in these patients.”
He described speculating as to who committed the attacks as “a bit out of my sandbox,” but warned that “non-national actors and/or individuals or rogue actors” could also wield such technology, so the culprit may not necessarily be a government.
The Pentagon confirmed that their officials were aware of updates in the investigation but did not provide any more information.
In a regular press briefing Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert addressed “a firestorm of reports out there today assigning blame to the Russian Government according to some unnamed U.S. Government officials.”
“I would caution you all to be very skeptical of those officials’ statements right now,” Nauert told reporters. “As you should be aware, the investigation continues into what has caused what we have – what we have called health attacks on our State Department employees who have been working in Cuba. There is no known cause, no known individual or group believed to be responsible at this time. We are looking into it. Our position has not changed.”
The Cuban communist regime has gone on the offensive, with most stories on the front page of the online edition of Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, dedicated to attacking President Donald Trump and the United States generally. One of the articles highlights remarks by the director of the U.S. division of the Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, who ranted on Twitter that NBC was “lending itself to a dangerous dirty game” for publishing the story.
“In Cuba, we don’t attack any diplomats from any country on behalf of any country,” he insisted, without noting also that some of the victims of the attacks in Cuba have been members of the Canadian diplomatic team.
A speculative piece in Granma also suggested that the attacks were a fabrication by National Security Advisor John Bolton, a common target of attack from rogue regimes. The story claims that Bolton “accused Cuba of having weapons of mass destruction” and, without elaborating how, fabricating the claims of injured U.S. diplomats.
Granma published a “study” in October suggested that the real tormentors of the diplomats were insects. According to the Castro regime, the Americans were too ignorant of Cuban wildlife to recognize the sounds of crickets an cicadas and mistook them for weapons, thus developing psychosomatic symptoms. A study published this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association dismissed this claim, finding that the brain damage sustained was too severe and the symptoms too uniform to have been fabricated.