Cuba Rejects Allegations by High-Ranking US Official

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The Department of State recalled much of its Cuban embassy staff last fall because of the incidents, which officials said could have been sonic attacks.

The Cuban official categorically denied any responsibility of Cuban authorities on the alleged health problems reported by USA diplomats, and underlined that Cuba has never perpetrated nor it would do harm to any foreign representative, not it would allowed third parties act against the physical integrity of any diplomat, without exception.

Asked whether it was possible that the Cuban government would have been unaware of any attacks, he said: "I find it very hard to believe that".

"The biggest victim of today's hearing was the truth", Vidal told reporters in Havana. The first cases were reported in November 2016 after Donald Trump won the elections.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a supporter of rapprochement with Cuba, has claimed there's no evidence anyone was attacked and that the US should reverse its decision to withdraw most of its diplomats from Havana. The two countries restored diplomatic ties in July 2015 after decades of hostility.

On Monday, a State Department spokesperson told CNN that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided whether to form an Accountability Review Board to look into the security incidents and would announce that decision shortly, pending congressional notification. "The Cubans bristle at the word 'attack.' I think they are justified at doing so". "Why in the world would I do that when I have no means whatsoever to protect them?"

Flake added he will not discuss what he has seen in a classified setting, but with the Federal Bureau of Investigation already visiting the country five times to rule out such an attack, the cause of the mysterious illnesses is still unknown. The State Department continues to be deeply concerned about the safety and security of our personnel.

Dr. Charles Rosenfarb, the State Department's chief doctor, also dismissed speculation that the illnesses were psychosomatic.

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Descriptions of the precipitating event ranged from "a high pitched beam of sound" to an "incapacitating sound", to a "baffling sensation" akin to driving with the windows partially open in a vehicle, to just an intense pressure in one ear.

The victims - at least 24 Americans, a mix of United States embassy personnel and their dependents - suffered headaches, hearing loss, disorientation and some loss of cognitive ability.

Rosenfarb said the only similar case he was aware of were suspicions during the Cold War before 1976 that United States diplomats in Moscow were hurt by Russian microwave transmitters.

The Canadian government sent a doctor to Cuba to examine Canadian diplomats who suffered everything from nosebleeds to short-term memory loss amid concern about mysterious acoustic attacks, declassified memos have shown.

Officials told Rubio's panel that Tillerson decided last month to launch a review into how his department had responded to the mystery, and had planned to inform Congress in the coming days. He said it's possible the sound masked some other technology that caused the damage.

He ridiculed one of the causes suggested by Cuban officials for the noise: crickets and cicadas. Securing the USA border and figuring out how to normalize the status of "the 10 million to 15 million undocumented immigrants" already here - "who, let's be honest, will not and should not be forcibly removed" - are the two biggest challenges, they add, and "when prioritizing the immigration problems we face, the case of 200,000 Salvadorans who accepted our invitation to live and work here legally would not even make a Top 10 list".

"As Secretary Tillerson has stated, we will not share information that violates individuals' privacy or reveals their medical conditions", the State Department told CNN.

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