Rubio Convinced Cubans Knew About Attacks on Americans

  • Rubio Convinced Cubans Knew About Attacks on Americans

Rubio Convinced Cubans Knew About Attacks on Americans

Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the USA had found no evidence of an attack on its diplomats in Cuba, according to the Associated Press.

"There are some people with symptoms happening that are unexplained", Sen.

"The Cubans bristle at the word 'attack.' I think they are justified at doing so", Flake told CNN on Friday. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a longtime advocate of improving ties with Cuba, said there is no evidence of a sonic attack. "We shouldn't be using that word". He also said while the details of what happened to the diplomats are unclear, he said he's convinced the Cuban government was involved.

A man works outside of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, September 29, 2017.

A diplomatic security official, Todd Brown, says initially that's what USA officials thought this was before coming to the conclusion that these were attacks. Officials told Congress there are many theories that haven't been ruled out — including the possibility of a virus deployed intentionally to infect the workers.

Although the United States hasn't specifically blamed Cuba for damaging the health of the diplomats, who have exhibited a variety of symptoms from hearing loss, ringing in the ears, cognitive confusion and mild concussions, both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Francisco Palmieri, acting assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, have called the incidents attacks.

The Trump administration is searching for answers after USA diplomats experienced unexplained health issues in Cuba.

The diplomats found that if they left the rooms they were in, the symptoms and sounds immediately stopped, suggesting to them that they were being targeted by an incredibly precise device, possibly a sonic weapon.

A total of 24 USA diplomats and family members have been treated since December 2016 for symptoms that some said followed high-pitched sounds, changes in atmospheric pressure or other unusual phenomena in their homes in Havana or in two hotels where they stayed. The FBI has not released its report on the injuries, made after repeated inspections of the diplomats' residences.

"It's a documented fact that 24 USA government officials and spouses were victims of some sort of sophisticated attack while stationed in Havana", Rubio said Sunday.

The hearing, which lasted about an hour and a quarter, was held a few days after an Federal Bureau of Investigation report was leaked to U.S. media which said no evidence of an acoustic attack has been found.

On Tuesday, in a hearing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, State Department officials said they would open a review board into their own handling of the issue but could offer frustrated lawmakers little in the way of answers.

KELEMEN: Senator Marco Rubio says the State Department should have responded much earlier by setting up what's known as an accountability review board. The first reported cases came in the fall of 2016, though the most recent incident was in August.

The Miami Herald was first to reveal the Cuba development, also reporting Monday that the State Department had delayed the publication of a medical article on the diplomats' affliction, citing national security concerns.

Information for this article was contributed by Josh Lederman of The Associated Press.

Some experts have argued that an acoustic attack seems implausible, given that it likely would have caused an extremely loud noise in the area, which was not the case.