Lawmakers are asking why the Obama administration was silent after a group of U.S. diplomats became ill and suffered hearing loss as a result of incidents in Cuba involving covert sonic devices, according to Washington Free Beacon.
Specifically, they’re requesting information on what Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Obama administration’s chief of mission in Cuba, knew about the incidents and whether he actively worked to hide them.
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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert remained tight-lipped about details of the incidents in Cuba that led to the departure of several U.S. diplomats from Cuba and their subsequent treatment for hearing loss.
She would not confirm reports that “acoustic weapons” may have caused the “medical ailments” in question and said the investigation into what exactly happened is still ongoing.
“We consider these to be incidents. We still are trying to determine the actual cause of their situation,” she said, referring to the diplomats who have left Cuba. “They have had a variety of symptoms. This is an active investigation, and that investigation is ongoing at this time.”
Nauert wouldn’t say whether the U.S. was working with the Cuban government to determine what had happened.
There are suspicions, however, that Russia may have been involved.
“This is a situation we are still assessing,” she said. “We can’t blame any one country. We have spoken extensively with the Cubans, as you know. The reason we had [the diplomats] leave is we said this is the agreement that the U.S. has with the Cuban government. They are responsible for the safety and security of our [diplomat]. They are not safe, they are not secure because something happened to them.”
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Nauert contradicted some reports and said there are lawmakers who’ve known about the incidents for some time.