CDC joins investigation into 'sonic attacks' in China, Cuba against U.S. personnel

U.S. Embassy in Cuba

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will join a government investigation into 'sonic attacks' that have left more than 25 U.S. personnel with mysterious ailments.

The bizarre incidents have baffled scientists and government investigators since they were made public last year. The U.S. has described the bizarre sound incidents as "attacks," and “has not specifically accused Cuba, but holds them responsible for not keeping U.S. diplomats safe.”

Cuba denies responsibility, and accused the United States of slander.

In June, Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a task force led by deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan would step up the inquiry, after a new incident this spring in which a China consulate worker was sickened.

From today's McClatchy report:

The move to add the CDC to the probe comes as frustrated congressional leaders, including House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Democratic counterpart Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., have called on the State Department to enlist the health organization's aid and send it to Havana to help the investigation.

“Why has the CDC not yet been deployed to Cuba?” Engel said Wednesday. “It certainly seems to me we should if we want to get to the bottom of this. I don’t understand why that hasn’t happened.”

Royce said he and Engel will meet Wednesday with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who leads the task force, to discuss the issue further.

Last month, Pompeo told the committee that Sullivan's task force would investigate the incidents after a new case this spring involving a consulate worker in China that increased diplomatic concern and intrigue.

A year-long FBI investigation has failed to find any cause of incidents. Merten, who referred to the incidents as "attacks," said the United States still does not know the source of the incidents nor who is responsible.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration kicked nearly two-thirds of Cuba’s embassy personnel out of the United States after pulling many American diplomats from the US embassy in Havana.

The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Merten is a member of the task force investigating the incidents. He would not discuss specifics about CDC’s role, but said they’re part of a weekly inter-agency meetings with the task force.

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