Months of investigation and four FBI trips to Havana have uncovered no evidence that sound waves could have damaged the Americans’ health, the AP has learned. But the secretary of state is not convinced that what he calls the “deliberate attacks” are over.
WASHINGTON — The United States would be “putting people intentionally in harm’s way” if it sent diplomats back to Cuba, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says in an Associated Press interview, even as a new FBI report casts doubt on the initial theory that Americans there have been hit by “sonic attacks.”
Following months of investigation and four FBI trips to Havana, an interim report from the bureau’s Operational Technology Division says the probe has uncovered no evidence that sound waves could have damaged the Americans’ health, the AP has learned. The report, dated Jan. 4, doesn’t address other theories and says the FBI will keep investigating until it can show there’s been no intentional harm.
Tillerson said he’s not convinced that what he calls the “deliberate attacks” are over. He defended his September decision to order most U.S. personnel and their relatives to leave Cuba and said he won’t reverse course until Cuba’s government assures they’ll be safe.
“I’d be intentionally putting them back in harm’s way. Why in the world would I do that when I have no means whatsoever to protect them?” Tillerson told the AP on Jan. 5. “I will push back on anybody who wants to force me to do that.”
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“I still believe that the Cuban government, someone within the Cuban government can bring this to an end,” Tillerson added. Washington has never claimed Cuba perpetrated the attacks but has insisted the island’s communist-run government must know who did. Cuba adamantly denies both involvement and knowledge of any attacks.
Tensions over the issue are apparent in Congress, with critics of the Cuban government at odds with supporters of closer U.S. ties. And within the Trump administration, the CIA, whose spies were affected while working under diplomatic cover, has chafed at the lack of FBI progress, several officials have told the AP in recent months, while a few lawmakers briefed on the probe have questioned whether the FBI even agrees with the State Department that anyone was attacked.
The State Department has said previously the most recent “medically…