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New sonic attack against American diplomat suggests Russian involvement

A USAID officer working out of the American embassy in Uzbekistan may have been targeted, along with his wife, by an acoustic attack similar to the ones that have affected U.S. diplomats in Cuba, CBS News reported Tuesday. A spokesperson for the State Department, however, insisted to CBS "that no personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan have been diagnosed with the conditions that have been observed in Cuba."

The strange sonic attacks in Cuba began in November 2016, when several U.S. government officials in Havana began experiencing symptoms that included hearing loss, balance problems, dizziness, and brain injuries. These symptoms were apparently induced by high-frequency sounds. The Cuban government tried to claim last month that the attacks may have simply been the work of cicadas and insects whose high-pitched noises can cause hearing loss at a loud volume.

The Trump administration has withdrawn a significant amount of its staff from the U.S. embassy in Havana in response to the attacks, despite doubt within the White House that Cuba is responsible. A U.S. official told the Miami Herald in October that "it may have been Russia working with rogue elements of the Cuban government." The sources who spoke to CBS seem to believe that the incident in Uzbekistan adds credence to the idea of Russian involvement in Cuban attacks, as the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan remains close with Russia. Uzbekistan recently held joint military drills with Russia for the first time in 12 years as part of renewed ties between the two countries.