US: Health Attack on Diplomats in Cuba Didn't Stop
State Department confirms there was an August incident
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 2, 2017 6:51 AM CDT
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In this photo taken Aug. 14, 2015, a U.S. flag flies at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba.   (Desmond Boylan)

(Newser) Mysterious incidents affecting the health of American diplomats in Cuba continued as recently as August, the United States said Friday, despite earlier US assessments that the attacks had long stopped. The US increased its tally of government personnel affected to 19. The new US disclosures came the same day that the union representing American diplomats said mild traumatic brain injury was among the diagnoses given to diplomats victimized in the attacks, reports the AP. In the most detailed account of the symptoms to date, the American Foreign Service Association said permanent hearing loss was another diagnosis; the BBC notes the hearing loss had not previously been described as permanent.

US officials previously said that the attacks had started in fall 2016 and continued until spring 2017. Last week, State Department rep Heather Nauert said the "incidents" were no longer occurring, but she can now "confirm another incident ... occurred last month." The evolving US assessment indicated investigators were still far off from any thorough understanding of what transpired. The US has avoided pointing a finger at the Cuban government. The US did expel two Cuban diplomats, but the State Department emphasized that was in protest of the Cubans' failure to protect the safety of American diplomats while on their soil. US investigators have been searching to identify a sonic device that could have harmed the health of the diplomats, believed to have been attacked in their homes in Havana, but officials have said no device had been found.

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