State Dept. asks scientists to study mystery acoustic attacks in Cuba: report

State Dept. asks scientists to study mystery acoustic attacks in Cuba: report
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The State Department has reportedly commissioned a team of scientists and medical doctors to study the effects of suspected acoustic attacks aimed at U.S. diplomats and personnel stationed in Cuba.

Yahoo News reported Tuesday that the State Department has turned to an existing committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to examine current cases of suspected sonic attacks and to determine a possible cause of the symptoms that have affected dozens of U.S. personnel stationed in Cuba.

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The committee will be devoted to “understanding the current cases of potential acoustic trauma, and develop a better understanding of possible causes of these cases and approaches for future incidents, whether of an apparent acoustic nature or a different environmental or clinical presentation,” according to a document obtained by Yahoo.

“The standing committee will also keep [the State Department] abreast of any emerging concerns, interventions, and protective measures as these come available," the memo continues, according to the outlet.

The State Department has been seeking explanations for suspected sonic attacks in Cuba against its diplomats since late 2016, with no public explanation for the attacks.

U.S. officials have previously called on the Cuban government to explain the cause.

One official at the agency confirmed the partnership to Yahoo News.

“We are pleased that the Health and Medical Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will assist the Department, as we seek independent, expert guidance as part of the Department’s effort to better understand the unexplained health incidents at posts abroad and determine best medical practices for screening, prevention, and treatment for both short and long-term care,” a State Department official told the outlet. 

Microwave weapons have been suspected in the attacks, in which diplomats heard painful sounds, lost their hearing or suffered vertigo. Others have reportedly suffered other brain injuries. U.S. intelligence has not ruled out the possibility that other weapons were also used. 

The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.