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Pompeo Tells Senators the Health Attacks on U.S. Employee in China ‘Consistent’ With Those in Cuba

Pompeo Tells Senators the Health Attacks on U.S. Employee in China ‘Consistent’ With Those in Cuba

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gax7uMcT4M

This is a subject that has strayed into the background and I’m thankful the Washington Free Beacon reported on it last night. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked him about the attacks:

“That’s a very good question,” Pompeo told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) during testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I don’t know if they were the same events. It is the case that the medical condition, the single medical condition to date in China is, as the medical folks would say, consistent with what happened in Cuba.”

“We are now up to two-dozen plus in Cuba. We do not know the source of either of these,” he said. “We are continuing to investigate in both places.”

In May, the State Department issued a health alert for U.S. citizens after an employee in Guangzhou, China, suffered a brain injury after he “reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.” Americans Doctors diagnosed the employee with “brain trauma” after he came home in June.

Between 2016 and 2017, 25 people suffered health attacks in Cuba, 17 of which are government employees. Some of those who received injuries “reported hearing odd sounds in particular rooms of their homes, leading some experts to speculate that some kind of sonic weapon or faulty surveillance device may have been at fault.”

Leahy wanted to know why the department decided to cut the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, by 60% and expel 15 Cuban diplomats from the U.S., but chose to only issue a health alert and bring home no one from China.

The answer is actually quite simple:

Pompeo said the different policies were a response to the “magnitude, scope, consistency, and time period” differences between what happened in China and Cuba.

“But I am deeply aware that if we determine that we face a similar situation [in China], you can expect that a response our government would take would be commensurate with the risk our officers face,” he said.

He also noted that the Chinese government has responded—at least initially—in a more responsive way than the Cuban government did.

“But neither of those ha led to a satisfactory outcome we can determine how to keep foreign service officers and State Department officials and foreign commercial officers serving in embassies in those two places safe,” he said.

Pompeo started a task force in the State Department earlier this month in response to the attacks in China and Cuba. From CNN:

Pompeo said in a statement that the task force will serve as the “coordinating body for department and interagency activities, including identification and treatment of affected personnel and family members, investigation and risk mitigation, messaging, and diplomatic outreach.”

The unit, called the Health Incidents Response Task Force, will be led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and include representatives from other US government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.

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Comments

…How are we to take this? Should we believe that Cuba didn’t (directly) do anything to American personnel?

G. de La Hoya | June 28, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Haven’t heard Senator Leaky Leahy’s name in the news in awhile. I know I can sleep better at night knowing Leaky Leahy and his like are looking out for the best interest of U.S. citizens 😉

In related news, it has been reported that China gives lasers to civilians in order to blind U.S. personnel. Is it really a stretch to imagine they used their communist comrades’ island as a test ground?

smalltownoklahoman | June 28, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Hadn’t heard about the attacks in China so thank you for bringing that to our attention. So similar attacks to what happened in Cuba and in a country halfway around the world? Certainly raises the significance of these attacks. I hope our own intelligence agents find out what is going on soon so that we can take steps to counter this harassment and assault of our personnel.

I’m pretty sure our toy box is full of rather mystifying toys just waiting to be played with. Maybe it’s time for some unexplainable, yet consistent, responses of our own.

… including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.

Well, sure, that’s who I’d send if I were seriously investigating a scientific or medical mystery.

There is no way that anything like this could happen in either China or Cuba, except at the direction of their governments. Such an action is an act of war, and should be responded to appropriately. At the minimum, diplomatic relations should be suspended, embassies and consulates closed, and all Chinese expelled from the US. If they are allowed to get by with this without retaliation, there is no reason for them to stop, or not to resort to other forms of attack.

Sent time last weekend with friends that do business in Cuba (not Cuban or US citizens) and this topic came up. For what it is worth, they said that their govt partners are adamant this was not a Cuban government attack. Speculated that US technology used by Embassies to block listening, etc., may have caused this. They also told me that Cubans are even more anti-American – govt and citizens – after Obama. Obama shamed Raul Castro with limp wristed handshake and worse, Michele Obama “pushed her way into photograph between Obama and Castro, in heels, to humiliate him and make him appear small!”.

Before you jump on me, I am just reporting this conversation. Obama was both praised and criticized for “opening up” US-Cuban relations. Appears Cuban mistrust and dislike is more nuanced than US analysts report.

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