The CIA is stepping up its efforts to deal with the causes and effects of mysterious sound incidents, which are believed to be attacks, which injured US officials, increasing medical staff and affecting a veteran of the agency that ousted Osama bin Laden, agency director William J. Burns said in a statement. interview Thursday.
"I am certainly convincedthat what our officers and some family members, as well as other US government employees, went through is real and serious, "Mr. Burns told NPR in his first interview since the CIA takeover three months ago.
" We are trying to go to the the bottom line, "he said.
In March, just before Mr. Burns, a career diplomat, took office, the CIA created a task force to expand efforts to find the cause of the so-called Havana Syndrome - unexplained episodes that injured its officers and other U.S. government employees in Cuba , China, Russia and elsewhere.
The task force will work with the State Department and other intelligence agencies to gather news evidence about the episodes and reexamining the material to draw conclusions about attacks took place and, if so, what caused the injuries and who was responsible.
" We have tripled the number of full-time medical personnel at the CIA who focus on these issues, "Burns said of efforts to help victims. "We have reduced the time it takes to enter Walter Reed for our officers from over eight weeks to less than two weeks.
He said another part of the team, led by an anonymous manager who "a decade ago successfully led the hunt for bin Laden ", focused on finding the perpetrators of the attacks and identifying the technology they were using.
"We are giving our best to this problem " added Mr Burns, who said the team 's work was based on a 2020 discovery of the National Academy of Sciences which a still unidentified foreign actor launched a “directed energy” on American installations.
M. Burns, who served as ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, was also asked about the precarious state of the Afghan army as Western countries withdraw their forces.
He said he believed the Afghan government had the military capacity to push back the Taliban, provided it had" the political will and unity of leadership "to" resist the Taliban .
He quickly conceded, however, that “trendlines are certainly troubling.”
M r. Burns was equally equivocal when asked about the CIA's investigation into the possibility that the coronavirus had originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
" The honest answer today, "he said, " is that we cannot offer a definitive conclusion as to whether, you know, this is due to a laboratory or natural transmission from infected animals to humans. "