WASHINGTON — The State Division is investigating new complaints of mind accidents linked to the so-called Havana Syndrome on the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, a senior administration official mentioned on Tuesday, every week earlier than Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is scheduled to go to the nation.
It was not clear how many individuals on the embassy in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, might need been by the mysterious sickness and its signs of complications, nausea, dizziness and reminiscence loss. The State Division’s spokesman, Ned Value, mentioned officers would be certain that staff “get the immediate care they want, in no matter kind that takes,” however he didn’t describe the complaints in Colombia throughout a briefing in Washington.
The senior administration official confirmed the complaints, which have been reported earlier by The Wall Avenue Journal, and mentioned that it appeared that a minimum of two embassy staff had reported the signs.
President Iván Duque of Colombia mentioned his nation was conscious of the studies. In an interview with The New York Occasions on Tuesday, Mr. Duque mentioned whereas the USA was taking the lead, Colombia’s intelligence service was additionally investigating.
Greater than 200 U.S. authorities officers — spies, diplomats, navy troops and others — have been by the sickness over the previous 5 years in diplomatic missions in a number of international locations, together with Cuba. Studies of an outbreak in Hanoi, Vietnam, delayed Vice President Kamala Harris’s go to in August by just a few hours.
Although the origins of Havana Syndrome stay unknown, its signs are just like these attributable to surveillance gear utilized by Russia in the course of the Chilly Struggle. As not too long ago as this summer time, nevertheless, U.S. intelligence officers have been struggling to seek out proof that the situation was a results of microwave assaults by Russian brokers — a concept put ahead in a examine by the Nationwide Academy of Sciences in December.
Greater than half the victims have been C.I.A. staff, and Congress has permitted extra assist for U.S. officers who’ve been affected by the sickness. Final month, the Home Intelligence Committee additionally demanded extra sources to assist discover the reason for the sicknesses and to assessment the C.I.A.’s dealing with of circumstances.
The Nationwide Safety Council and the State Division have created activity forces to analyze the reported accidents, which have been a prime concern for Mr. Blinken even earlier than he took workplace. He’s not anticipated to cancel or delay his journey to Colombia, throughout which he’s prone to tackle the difficulty of migrants and the political and humanitarian disaster in neighboring Venezuela.
Mr. Value mentioned the State Division had sought to be extra open with staff about reported assaults at diplomatic posts, aggressively tried to determine their trigger and supplied care to individuals who complained of signs.
“We’ve taken numerous steps, together with by way of communication, by way of care, by way of detection, by way of safety for our work drive,” he mentioned. “And that’s one thing that may proceed to be a precedence for the secretary.”
Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.