Russia will face “consequences” if it is discovered to be involved in the so-called ‘Havana Syndrome, the CIA’ chief warned, the Washington Post claims, citing anonymous ‘sources’.
The series of unexplained medical incidents involving US diplomats around the world has been reported by multiple US government officials and military personnel stationed abroad, with the first case being reported in Cuba, giving the name to the ‘illness’ that includes hearing loud noises, pain in the ears, and cognitive difficulties.
CIA Director William Burns has allegedly raised the issue up during meetings in Moscow earlier this month with Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, and the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin.
According to WaPo article, Burns, who has publicly described the incidents as attacks and believes a foreign adversary is responsible, told Russian officials that it’s beyond the scope of what is permissible for a “professional intelligence service” to inflict serious brain damage on Americans, without directly accusing Russia of being involved.
Yet, Burns’ decision to raise the possibility of Russian involvement directly to his counterparts underlines the deep suspicion the CIA has of Kremlin culpability though formulating the warning by saying “if” suggests that Washington remains unable to determine the cause of the incidents.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected on Thursday all allegations of Russia’s presumed involvement in acoustic attacks against US diplomats, adding that CIA Director William Burns did not raise the issue of the “Havana Syndrome” in conversations with political interlocutors while in Moscow.
This isn’t the first instance in which Moscow’s been accused of being behind Havana Syndrome since The New Yorker published a story earlier this year implying Russian link to the incidents, which Russia Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Alexander Bikantov strongly denied.
Bikantov stressed at the time Moscow’s believes that it is low and morally wrong to initiate anti-Russian speculation by pointing at someone’s bad health.
Both CIA and the Russian Embassy in Washington declined to comment on Burns’s previously unreported warning to the Russians, and even Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who revealed earlier this month that Burns also spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, did not mention Havana Syndrome.