A new report points the finger at Russia for a series of illnesses that struck U.S. personnel in Cuba and China.
NBC based its report on information from what it said were “three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation.” NBC did not name its sources.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert urged caution about accepting the report on Tuesday.
“We have made no determination on who or what is responsible for the health attacks,” she said, according to Reuters.
However, other news outlets quoted her taking a stronger stand.
“We have seen a firestorm of reports out there today assigning blame to the Russian government,” she said, according to USA Today. “I would caution you all to be very skeptical of those statements.”
NBC’s report said the FBI, the CIA and other U.S. agencies have been investigating the attacks, which began in 2016 and initially targeted American diplomats who were in Cuba as part of former President Barack Obama’s initiative to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and the communist-ruled island.
Cuba has denied any involvement in the attacks.
In an effort to determine what was done to the Americans, NBC said that the energy research program at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico has become part of the work. At Kirtland, the military has advanced laboratories that can test electromagnetic weapons.
American diplomats assigned to Cuba reported hearing unusual noises in hotel rooms as well as in the homes in which they lived, which were maintained by Cuba’s government, according to USA Today. The sounds were labeled as “buzzing, grinding metal, piercing squeals and humming.”
Although no injuries were reported, the symptoms displayed were consistent with some form of brain injury.
Last month, a U.S. employee based in China reported similar symptoms, according to NBC.
“What has happened in Cuba has really taken the harassment to a level that’s incredibly scary,” national security analyst Morgan Ortagus, told Fox News on Tuesday.
“This goes back to a pattern of behavior of Russians harassing our diplomats,” Ortagus said. “You assume that there are nefarious countries that are going to go after you, that are going to target and collect against you.”
Although the State Department has not wanted to assign blame, it accepts that these were attacks against Americans.
“The State Department has come to the determination that they were attacks,” Peter Boode, heading a task force about the incidents, told a House subcommittee, according to NBC.
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