CIA briefing to lawmakers on suspected energy attacks turned contentious


By Kylie Atwood and Jeremy Herb, NCS

(NCS) — A briefing on suspected energy attacks on US intelligence officers turned contentious final week, two sources advised NCS, as senators demanded extra details about the mysterious incidents from the CIA and accountability for a way the company has dealt with them.

Senators on the Intelligence Committee have been baffled that they have been simply studying about important developments for the first-time and so they have been additionally annoyed that they weren’t given extra particulars. The categorised briefing was probably the most contentious within the committee’s latest reminiscence, in accordance to the 2 sources acquainted with the briefing.

The briefers made clear that they consider the attacks on intelligence officers abroad are ongoing and so they mentioned beforehand unreported suspected instances that emerged in a European nation this yr, in accordance to two sources acquainted with the instances.

NCS first reported final week that federal companies are additionally investigating a possible incident close to the White House the place a National Security Council staffer developed related situations to those that have reported suffered the debilitating constellation of signs often known as “Havana syndrome,” which regularly consists of extreme complications, fatigue and lack of listening to.

US officers consider the signs affecting US personnel abroad may very well be the results of assault by some kind of weapon that goals pulsed radiofrequency energy at its victims.

President Joe Biden’s new CIA director, Bill Burns, has dedicated to prioritizing an investigation into the attacks however the extraordinary briefing revealed that loads of work wants to be achieved on this complicated and disturbing problem — notably by way of accountability for a way the company initially mishandled instances, together with failing to correctly present medical care to officers affected and coordinating the investigation throughout authorities, in accordance to the sources acquainted with the briefing.

The briefers — who have been members of the CIA job pressure trying into the attacks — didn’t present a transparent timeline of when sure info had been found and why it was solely being shared with the senators then, which led some members to consider that the company had beforehand been hiding that info from Congress, the sources mentioned.

The tense briefing underscores the frustration that lawmakers have expressed over the mysterious suspected energy attacks on US personnel throughout the globe during the last a number of years, which the US authorities has struggled to handle.

The Senate Intelligence Committee said in a bipartisan statement on Friday that the “pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing.” The assertion additionally mentioned that the committee is dedicated to “get to the bottom of this” and welcomed Burns’ “renewed focus” on these attacks.

“Our committee will continue to work with him, and the rest of the Intelligence Community, to better understand the technology behind the weapon responsible for these attacks,” mentioned Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the panel’s high Republican. “We will focus on ensuring we protect our personnel and provide the medical and financial support the victims deserve. Ultimately we will identify those responsible for these attacks on American personnel and will hold them accountable.”

A Senate Intelligence Committee spokeswoman declined to remark on the briefing, pointing to the committee’s Friday assertion.

Senators made clear those that mishandled response ought to be held accountable

Senators made it clear in the course of the briefing that company officers who mishandled the company’s response to the attacks from the get-go have to be held accountable, one of many sources mentioned. The briefers mentioned they might take these sentiments again to the company, the supply mentioned.

Some senators directed criticism particularly in direction of officers within the CIA medical workplace, which initially doubted intelligence officers who mentioned they’d been topic to the mysterious attacks.

Burns advised the House intelligence committee final month that he had appointed a senior officer to report instantly to him on the matter. He has additionally mentioned that he met with people who’ve been affected by the alleged attacks.

“I’ve met with three different groups over several hours with my colleagues going back to Havana who have been affected by these incidents simply to make clear to them not only my personal priority, but that we take very seriously what they’ve experienced and have enormous respect for their sacrifice and their dedication and that we will get to the bottom of this,” Burns advised the committee.

The CIA pointed to Burns’ testimony on this problem however declined to present something additional.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, mentioned on NCS’s “State of the Union” Sunday it was “outrageous” that officers have struggled to acquire medical care.

“There’s a mysterious, direct energy weapon that is being used. And it is causing, in some cases, permanent traumatic brain injury. And yet the personnel involved — there have been other attacks around the world — have had a difficult time getting both the medical care and the financial help that they need from the CIA. And that is outrageous,” Collins mentioned.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pressed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines concerning the attainable attacks at a listening to final week, urging Haines to declassify details about the incidents and “share it with members of Congress in a way that allows us to better respond.”

“Our concern obviously with the classification is because we believe that either it’s protecting sources and methods, and it’s critical to our national security, and we’ll have to figure that out with you,” Haines responded. “But you should certainly have access to the classified information. And we should figure out if there’s a way to help you address these issues more generally.”

A House Intelligence Committee spokesperson declined to remark on particular briefings, however mentioned that the committee has been “working quietly and persistently behind closed doors on this critical issue since the first reports.”

“The committee will continue to hold events and briefings on this subject and we will follow the evidence wherever it may lead and ensure anyone responsible is held to account,” the spokesperson mentioned.

Symptoms first emerged in Cuba

The US has struggled to perceive these attacks since 2016 and 2017, when diplomatic and intelligence personnel in Cuba first started reporting alarming signs that appeared to seem out of the blue. That is when the attacks grew to become often known as the “Havana syndrome.”

The perpetrator of the attacks has not been recognized by the US authorities, which remains to be investigating the incidents, however many present and former US officers consider Russia is to blame.

One State Department-sponsored research discovered the attacks have been possible carried out utilizing directed microwave energy. But US officers proceed to stress that they’ve extra questions than solutions surrounding these incidents.

Intelligence and protection officers have been reluctant to converse publicly concerning the mysterious incidents and a few who have been impacted have publicly mentioned that the CIA didn’t take the matter severely sufficient from the onset.

The Biden administration has mentioned that it’s going to undertake a complete of presidency method to getting to the underside of the incidents. That dedication comes as a just lately declassified 2018 State Department Accountability Review Board report, obtained by the National Security Archive, mentioned there had been a delayed response to the attacks in 2018 in the course of the Trump administration brought on by “excessive secrecy” and “serious deficiencies in the Department’s response in areas of accountability, interagency coordination, and communication, at all levels” in Washington and Havana.

The State Department named a senior official to lead the division’s response to the “Havana syndrome” attacks in March and the CIA task force was setup late final yr as a part of this push. The CIA job pressure will draw on a variety of sources on the company and ensures a crew and course of exists to handle any future incidents, NCS beforehand reported.

But questions stay about how efficient the duty pressure has or might be, how a lot interagency sharing of knowledge is definitely taking place and the way the Biden administration is offering all of that info to the oversight committees.

The Senate and House Armed Services Committees each obtained briefings on the Pentagon’s efforts to monitor and examine these mysterious incidents in latest weeks. Then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller who served as appearing protection secretary within the remaining weeks of the Trump administration additionally arrange a job pressure contained in the Pentagon to monitor the instances, telling NCS final month that he did not suppose different companies have been doing sufficient about it.

The-NCS-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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