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Intelligence agencies convene ‘Havana syndrome’ panel to look at cause of mystery illnesses

A panel of experts led by senior intelligence officers has met in recent weeks on “Havana syndrome” as the investigation into unexplained health incidents among American personnel enters what one U.S. official described as a new and intensive phase.

The panel — which is focused on identifying the cause and potential mechanisms of the mysterious illnesses — is led by senior officers from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA, and includes scientific experts from outside government who are already cleared to access classified material.

“The intelligence community has convened a panel of experts from across the U.S. government and private sector to work collectively to increase understanding of the possible mechanisms that are causing these anomalous health incidents,” an intelligence official told McClatchy.

The intelligence panel is one of two set up by President Joe Biden last month to study the strange sensory phenomenon that has baffled and concerned the government since at least 2016, when American diplomats in Cuba became ill with mysterious ailments.

Since then, over 130 American officials stationed overseas — including in Britain, China and Austria — and at home in the United States have reported symptoms.

The U.S. diplomats, CIA officers and National Security Council officials have described experiencing sudden sound pressure or heat, vertigo, nausea, and head or neck pain that government physicians have been unable to diagnose.

A second panel is primarily focused on trying to identify protective measures for U.S. personnel going forward. Neither panel is time-bound.