Congress Wants Answers About Diplomats’ Illnesses in Cuba Last Year

The US Embassy in Havana / Getty Images

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Key House and Senate Committees, as well as individual lawmakers, want to know why they were caught flat-footed by media reports of incidents in Cuba late last year that left a group of U.S. diplomats ill and reportedly suffering from hearing loss attributed to covert sonic devices.

The members have requested a classified State Department briefing, and one is scheduled for Monday for committee staffers only because members of Congress are on their August recess, according to a Congressional aide.

The lawmakers want to know why the Trump administration has waited so long to publicly say anything about the incidents in Cuba, which the State Department has acknowledged first began at the end of last year, and why the Obama administration also remained silent about it. Trump in late May expelled two Cuban diplomats from the Cuban embassy in Washington in response to the incidents against the U.S. diplomats in Havana.

“The real question is what the Obama administration knew and why they didn’t do anything about it,” a congressional aide told the Washington Free Beacon.

They specifically want to know what information Jeffrey DeLaurentis, President Barack Obama’s chief of mission in Cuba, knew about the incidents in questions and whether he and others in the administration tried to cover it up in an effort to protect Obama’s diplomatic détente with Cuba.

With the Canadian government acknowledging that its diplomats also suffered from similar symptoms and were treated for hearing loss, members of Congress want to know whether there is any evidence that Russia—which has complained about Canadian support for the U.S. embargo against Moscow—was involved. Some congressional officials are questioning whether Russia may have carried out an action against Canadian and American diplomatic officials without…

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