CIA Says ‘Havana Syndrome’ Not the Work of Hostile Foreign Power

A 2018 State Department report that was recently declassified said the noises US diplomats heard were likely local crickets

There has been much hype in recent years over headaches and other symptoms US diplomats and spies have experienced while deployed overseas. This phenomenon has been nicknamed the “Havana Syndrome” since the first reports of the symptoms came from diplomats in Cuba.

The assumption is that the mysterious illness is the work of a hostile foreign power, such as China or Russia, using microwave weapons. But NBC News reported Wednesday that the CIA has ruled out the possibility that the majority of Havana Syndrome cases were “the result of a sustained global campaign by a hostile power.”

The report reads: “The idea that widespread brain injury symptoms have been caused by Russia or another foreign power targeting Americans around the world, either to harm them or to collect intelligence, has been deemed unfounded, the sources said.”

According to NBC, hundreds of US diplomats and spies have reported Havana Syndrome symptoms and many are “disappointed” that the CIA isn’t blaming a foreign power. But the CIA assessment is not the only reason to believe the syndrome is not an attack on US personnel.

Many of the diplomats that reported the symptoms said they heard strange, loud buzzing noises. A 2018 State Department report that was recently obtained by Buzzfeed found that the culprit of the loud noise was likely local crickets. Separately, a group of scientists analyzed a recording of the mysterious sound and concluded that the noise was the call of a Caribbean species of cricket.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.