Yet another major instance of a story which grabbed headlines for years, and was widely linked to Russian intelligence, entering the dustbin of history...
A joint US intelligence community assessment now says that 'Havana Syndrome' was not caused by a foreign adversary. This after endless and breathless media reporting which attempted to link the mysterious ailments allegedly experienced by American spies and diplomats at missions around the world since 2016 to some kind of Russian supersonic weapon or secret 'directed energy' device.
The new US intelligence report, announced Wednesday, determined that a foreign adversary is "very unlikely" to be responsible. Mass sicknesses, including unexplained nausea, headaches and possibly vomiting were first reported experienced among many staffers at the US Embassy in Cuba.
As The New York Times now reports, "The assessment builds on interim findings from the C.I.A. last year that neither Russia nor another hostile power was responsible for a global campaign targeting intelligence officers and diplomats who reported a wide range of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and balance problems."
The Times additionally recalls that "In many of these cases, the patients said the symptoms began after they heard a strange sound and felt intense pressure in their heads."
In case the likes of Rachel Maddow or any other commentators who spent a half-decade hyping all things Russiagate and "Putin's agents are everywhere!" narratives still have doubt, the following lines are remarkably assertive and definitive:
But the conclusions released by the Director of National Intelligence’s office on Wednesday were broader, finding that none of the episodes the government investigated could be attributed to hostile foreign action.
The intelligence community assessment found that while seven different agencies had varying levels of confidence, most "concluded it is ‘very unlikely’ a foreign adversary is responsible" for the reported ailments. As part of the investigation, U.S. spy agencies reviewed intelligence, which showed that adversaries were puzzled and thought the reported symptoms were part of an American plot.
WSJ 3/1/23: "Havana Syndrome Unlikely Caused by Foreign Adversary or Weapon, U.S. Report Says"— Matt Orfalea (@0rf) March 1, 2023
MSNBC's @NicolleDWallace for *years*: pic.twitter.com/MWCvnBkfnf
This suggests the US noted Russian intel officials' own confusion in real time amid all of the Havana Syndrome reporting. And rather than unearthing any evidence whatsoever the Kremlin was behind it, instead the Russians were apparently as confused as anyone else.
Graphics like the following have widely circulated over the years 'charting' incidents:
Over the years various theories have been discussed among scientists and psychologists, including everything from large amounts of crickets buzzing in Havana (and the vibrating sound then inducing headaches) to theories of self-induced mass hysteria or stressful work environments, to even the possibility of US embassy staffers simply faking illnesses.
...or else there's the possibility that the narrative was entirely made up, cut out of whole cloth, by US authorities in order pile pressure on Russia.