US Will Keep Probing Diplomats' Health Incidents: Blinken

By Reuters Staff

January 21, 2022

BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States government will continue to investigate the possible cause of anomalous health incidents that have affected American diplomats around the world for years, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken said on Thursday.

"We have been working overtime to try to understand what happened, who might be responsible and at the same time to do everything we can to care for our colleagues who have been affected and to protect people," Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Berlin.

"We will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of it," added Blinken, who was in Berlin as part of a series of meetings regarding Russia and Ukraine.

U.S. CIA officials separately said most cases of so-called Havana Syndrome can be explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, rather than actions by a foreign power, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The CIA's review of the mysterious ailment found the majority of cases were explainable and unlikely to have been caused by Russia or another foreign adversary, the reports said, citing interim findings of the agency's study.

CIA officials are continuing to investigate two dozen unexplained cases that could offer further clues into whether any foreign countries are involved, they added.

The mysterious ailment, first reported among U.S. officials in the Cuban capital in 2016, has afflicted about 200 U.S. diplomats, officials and family members overseas. Symptoms have included migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness.

"We are going to continue to do everything we can with all the resources we can bring to bear to understand, again, what happened, why and who might be responsible," Blinken said, adding that the State Department would continue to focus on making sure those afflicted get needed healthcare.

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