CIA Vienna station chief removed amid 'Havana syndrome' criticism: News report

About 100 CIA officers and family members were among some 200 US officials and kin sickened by Havana syndrome.
About 100 CIA officers and family members were among some 200 US officials and kin sickened by Havana syndrome.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has removed its Vienna station chief following criticism of his management, including what some considered an inadequate response to reports of "Havana syndrome" incidents at the United States Embassy there, the Washington Post reported on Thursday (Sept 23).

The Post, which cited unnamed current and former US officials, said the action would send a message that leaders must take seriously the Havana syndrome, a mysterious set of ailments that include migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness.

The CIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Washington Post said dozens of US personnel in the Austrian capital, including diplomats and intelligence officials, as well as some of the children of US employees, have reported symptoms of the syndrome.

CIA director William Burns said in July that about 100 CIA officers and family members were among some 200 US officials and kin sickened by Havana syndrome.

The ailments were first reported by officials based in the US Embassy in Cuba in 2016.

Last year, a US National Academy of Sciences panel found that the most plausible theory is that "directed, pulsed radio frequency energy" causes the syndrome.

Burns has said there is a "very strong possibility" the syndrome is intentionally caused and that Russia could be responsible. Moscow denies involvement.