Speed Reads

sonic attacks

The FBI has reportedly found no sign of sonic attacks on U.S. personnel in Cuba

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the "attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba," but senators can't even agree that some 24 U.S. diplomats were actually attacked. The FBI, which is investigating the mysterious symptoms reported by U.S. and some Canadian diplomatic staff in Cuba, said in a Jan. 4 report that it has found no evidence of sonic attacks, the initial theory to explain the concussion-like symptoms, The Associated Press reported Monday. Cuba insists there were no attacks.

In response to the mysterious incidents, President Trump recalled all nonessential U.S. personnel from Cuba and expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington, arguing that Cuba could have prevented any attacks. Canada, as flummoxed as the U.S. by the incidents, has not recalled any embassy staff. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told AP he doesn't have any plans to send U.S. staff back to Havana until Cuba can assure their safety. "I'd be intentionally putting them back in harm's way. Why in the world would I do that when I have no means whatsoever to protect them?" Tillerson said. "I still believe that the Cuban government, someone within the Cuban government can bring this to an end."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Cuba critic who called Tuesday's hearing, tweeted that it's a "documented fact" U.S. personnel were "victims of some sort of sophisticated attack," but Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) disagreed. "There are some people with symptoms happening that are unexplained," said Flake, who favors closer U.S.-Cuba ties. "The Cubans bristle at the word 'attack.' I think they are justified at doing so. The FBI has said there is no evidence of an attack. We shouldn't be using that word."

A U.S. medical team examined the U.S. personnel in Cuba who reported symptoms, but the State Department has held up publication of their report, now slated for eventual release in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Miami Herald reports.