Sources say the U.S. is getting ready to withdraw some staff from the American embassy in Havana in response to a series of mysterious attacks that have harmed the health of some U.S. diplomats there. Eve Johns reports.
After nearly a year of mysterious attacks on American diplomats in Cuba, sources say the U.S. embassy in Havana is getting ready to send people home for their own safety. The embassy is expected to remain open, but some staff and diplomats' families are likely to be evacuated within the next few days. More than twenty-one people at the mission have been hit by unexplained symptoms including nausea, headaches, and even hearing loss. Some have even been diagnosed with mild brain damage The State Department says some kind of covert sonic weapon could be to blame and is taking the attacks seriously. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE, REX TILLERSON, SAYING: "We have it under evaluation. It's a very serious issue with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered. We've brought certain people home, it's under review." Cuba is denying any role and is running its own investigation, but so far has come up with nothing. Meanwhile there are plenty of theories floating around ranging from defective surveillance technology to a sophisticated weapon in the hands of U.S. enemies like North Korea or Iran operating out of Cuba, although some sound technology experts say they doubt whether such a weapon even exists. So far, Washington is not blaming the Cuban government for the attacks but has made it clear it's unhappy about how Havana is handling the case. Tensions between the two former Cold War enemies have been simmering ever since Donald Trump took office and started undoing what he called Obama's "terrible and misguided" policy with Havana.