The CIA’s inspector general is responsible for the early victims of the Havana syndrome



CNN

The CIA’s inspector general has completed a review that criticized the agency’s handling of early cases of a mysterious illness known as “Havana syndrome,” US officials said Friday.

A review delivered to CIA Director Bill Burns and Congress this month found flaws in the agency’s handling of early cases under the Trump administration, according to a source familiar with the report. Victims have long said that in the months and years after the first incidents in Havana, Cuba, some senior CIA officials doubted that the wounds were real. The report concluded that as a result, some of those agents reporting symptoms did not receive the immediate attention they needed.

The CIA declined to comment on the findings. CIA press secretary Susan Buikema-Miller said in a statement that the review “simultaneously challenges us to understand and respond effectively to the many challenges involved. [these incidents] It has made the agency’s response difficult.”

Burns overhauled the agency’s incident management when he became director early in the Biden administration, removing the chief medical officer some victims criticized as being too skeptical of injuries and increasing the number of full-time CIA medical staff. they focus on these issues.

But the report still comes after dozens of CIA officers have gone before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees over the past year to voice concerns that a CIA task force created by Burns could investigate what might have caused these strange episodes. .

In an interim report in January, the CIA determined that the majority of reported cases could be explained by known means. But about two dozen cases remain unexplained, which the government refers to as “abnormal health events.” Victims have struggled with brain trauma, vertigo and other symptoms, some severe enough to force retirement.

But the intelligence community has yet to produce evidence that a foreign nation is causing the illnesses — although the CIA and the State Department have begun issuing reparations — frustrating some victims.

The CIA began compensating some victims earlier this year, the sources said, after Congress passed legislation in 2021 mandating payments to CIA and other government victims.

“At the CIA, we have no deeper duty than to protect our people,” said CIA spokeswoman Buikema-Miller. “Learning from the past and looking to the future, we have significantly expanded access to attention and resources in the last year and a half; Our steadfast dedication to this issue is unceasing.’

The report covering the period from 2016 to 2020 remains classified.