The State Department has expelled two diplomats from the Cuban Embassy in Washington following a series of unexplained incidents in Cuba that left US officials there with physical symptoms that one official said includes potentially permanent hearing loss. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the two Cubans were asked to leave the US on May 23 after Americans in Cuba "reported incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms," spurring them to leave the island, the AP reports. Nauert said the first of the incidents was reported in late 2016 and that they had continued. She would not say what the symptoms were except that they were not life-threatening, though other officials say they include hearing loss.
One person familiar with the US investigation says investigators are looking into whether elements of the Cuban government placed sonic devices that produce non-audible sound inside or outside the residences of roughly five US Embassy staffers with the intent of deafening them. Sources say that after the staffers arrived in Havana in the summer of 2016 and moved into housing owned and maintained by the Cuban government, the affected diplomats and their spouses began to experience symptoms of hearing loss so severe and puzzling that an investigation was launched, and it was determined that they were at risk. The sources say the Cuban government denied any involvement. (Read more Cuba stories.)