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CIA: 'Havana Syndrome' Cases Not Caused By Russia; Agency Criticized By Those Suffering Symptoms

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Central Intelligence Agency is now saying that most cases of the mysterious, neurological illness known as "Havana Syndrome" were not caused by Russia or a foreign adversary.

The intelligence agency said a majority of the 1,000 cases reported to the government can be explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, rather than a sustained global campaign by a foreign power.

U.S. officials said the CIA believes it's unlikely that Russia or another foreign adversary is using microwaves or other forms of directed energy to attack hundreds of American diplomats and intelligence officers who attribute their brain injuries and other symptoms.

The findings are drawing criticism from those who have reported cases and from advocates who accuse the government of long dismissing the array of ailments.

Former Senior CIA Intelligence Officer Marc Polymeropoulos said a work trip to Moscow changed his life and ended his 26-year career.

"I awoke in the middle of the night. It was an incredible case of vertigo. The room was spinning. I had terrible headaches. I felt like I was going to be nauseous. It started a long medical journey of a headache that never goes away," he said.

His headaches and nausea were consistent with symptoms that have been referred to as 'Havana syndrome.'

The first cases were reported by U.S. embassy and intelligence officials in Cuba in 2016.

Scientists had suspected the cause of the symptoms were directed, radio-frequency energy.

"This is really a silent injury, a silent wound," Polymeropoulos said.

US Lawmakers had raised concern about what's been described as an increasing pattern of suspected attacks.

The Russian government was widely suspected to be involved, but the U.S. government had not officially blamed anyone for the incidents.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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