CIA briefing to lawmakers on suspected energy attacks turned contentious

briefing Suspected energy attack Two sources said U.S. intelligence agents argued last week as Senators demanded more information about the mysterious cases from the CIA and accountability for how the agency handled them. Told to.

Intelligence Committee senators were puzzled that they were only learning about important developments for the first time, and they were also dissatisfied that they were not given any further details. Confidential briefings were one of the most controversial in the Commission’s recent memory, according to two sources familiar with the briefing.

The briefing revealed that it believed that an attack on foreign intelligence was underway, and two sources familiar with the case said it was about a previously unreported suspicious incident in a European country this year. We talked.

CNN last week also federal agencies Investigation of possible incidents Near the White House, which has developed a condition similar to those reported by National Security Council staff, it suffers from a series of debilitating symptoms known as “Havana Syndrome.” This often includes severe headaches, malaise, and deafness.

U.S. officials believe that the symptoms affecting Americans abroad may be the result of an attack with some kind of weapon that directs pulsed high-frequency energy to the victim.

President Joe Biden’s new CIA director, Bill Burns, has promised to prioritize the investigation of the attack, but the extraordinary briefing has given him an extraordinary briefing on this complex and annoying issue, especially when government agencies first It became clear that much work had to be done to determine how accountable it was. According to sources familiar with the briefing, cases were mishandled, including not providing adequate medical care to affected officials and coordinating government-wide investigations.

A briefing, a member of the CIA Task Force investigating the attack, did not provide a clear timeline as to when certain information was discovered and why it was shared only with Senators. , Some members began to believe in the agency and previously hid the information from Congress, sources said.

The tense briefing highlights the frustration that lawmakers have expressed about allegations of a mysterious energy attack on Americans around the world over the past few years that the US government has struggled to deal with.

Senate Information Committee Said in a bipartisan statement “It looks like there is an increasing pattern of attacks on our fellow citizens who serve our government,” he said on Friday. The statement also said the Commission promised to be “underlying this” and welcomed Burns’ “new focus” on these attacks.

“Our Commission will continue to work with him and the other intelligence communities to better understand the technology behind the weapons responsible for these attacks,” said Mark Warner, Democratic Party of Virginia. Florida Senator Marco Rubio said. Top Republican Party. “We focus on ensuring that our staff are protected and providing the medical and financial support they deserve. Ultimately, we are responsible for these attacks on American staff. Identify and hold them accountable. “

A Senate Intelligence Committee spokesman pointed out the Commission’s Friday statement and refused to comment on the briefing.

Senator clarified that those who mishandled the response should be held accountable

During the briefing, Senators revealed that government officials who mishandled the agency’s response to the attack from the beginning would have to be held accountable, one source said. The briefing said it would bring those feelings back to the agency, sources said.

Some senators criticized CIA clinic staff in particular, but initially suspected intelligence officials who said they had been mysteriously attacked.

Burns told the House intelligence committee last month that he had appointed a senior officer to report directly on the issue. He also said he had met an individual affected by the alleged attack.

“I met three different groups over the course of several hours and my colleagues returned to Havana to be affected by these incidents. They were very much my personal priorities as well as what they experienced. We have made it clear that we are taking it seriously. With great respect for their sacrifice and dedication, we will reach the root of this, “Burns told the Commission.

The CIA pointed out Burns’ testimony on the issue, but provided nothing more.

Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a CNN “program show” on Sunday that it was “exorbitant” for authorities to struggle to get medical care.

“There are mysterious directed-energy weapons in use, and in some cases, causing permanent traumatic brain injury. Still, officials (there were other attacks around the world) said. I had a hard time getting both the medical and financial support I needed from the CIA, and that’s ridiculous, “Collins said.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of the Senate Military Commission, pressured Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on a possible attack at a hearing last week, declassifying Haynes from information about the incident. “I encouraged you to share it with members of Congress. I hope you can respond better.”

“Obviously our concern about classification is because we believe it protects sources and methods, which is important to our national security and understands it with you. We need to, “Haines replied. “But you need to make sure you have access to sensitive information, and you need to understand if there are ways to help address these issues more generally.”

A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee refused to comment on a particular briefing, but said the committee “has been quietly and persistently tackling this serious issue since its first report.”

“The Commission will continue to hold events and briefings on this subject, and follow the evidence wherever it may lead and hold the responsible person accountable,” said a spokesman.

Symptomatology first appeared in Cuba

The United States has struggled to understand these attacks since 2016 and 2017, when Cuban diplomacy and intelligence agents began reporting alarming symptoms that seemed to appear suddenly at the beginning. At that time, the attack became known as “Havana Syndrome.”

The perpetrators of the attack have not been identified by the US government investigating the case, but many current and former US officials believe Russia is responsible.

According to a State Department-sponsored investigation, the attack may have been carried out directly using microwave energy. However, US officials continue to emphasize that there are more questions than the answers surrounding these cases.

Intelligence and defense officials are hesitant to speak publicly about the mysterious incident, and some affected people have publicly stated that the CIA has not taken the matter seriously enough from the beginning.

The Biden administration said it would adopt a government-wide approach to reach the root of the case. That commitment was made during the Trump administration, when a recently declassified 2018 State Department Accountability Review Board report, obtained by the National Security Archives, was caused by “excessive secrecy” and “serious flaws.” He stated that the response to the 2018 attack was delayed. Accountability at all levels in Washington and Havana, coordination between ministries, and the Department of State’s response in the area of ​​communication. “

The Department of State has appointed senior officials to lead the Department of State’s response to the March “Havana Syndrome” attack. CIA task force It was set up at the end of last year as part of this push. The CIA Task Force leverages the institution’s extensive resources to ensure that there are teams and processes to address future incidents, CNN previously reported.

But how effective the task force is, how effective it will be in the future, how much information is actually shared between ministries, and how the Biden administration will give all that information to the oversight committee. The question remains as to how it is offered.

Both the Senate and the House Military Commission have been briefed on the Pentagon’s efforts to track down and investigate these mysterious incidents in recent weeks. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who acted as Secretary of Defense in the last few weeks of the Trump administration, also set up a task force within the Pentagon to track the case, and other agencies did enough on CNN last month. About it that he said he didn’t think he was.

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