CIA briefing to lawmakers on suspected energy attacks turned contentious

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A briefing on suspected energy attacks on US intelligence officers turned contentious last week, two sources told CNN, as senators demanded more information about the mysterious incidents from the CIA and accountability for how the agency has handled them.
Washington (CNN)

Senators on the Intelligence Committee were baffled that they were just learning about significant developments for the first-time and they were also frustrated that they were not given more details. The classified briefing was one of the most contentious in the committee's recent memory, according to the two sources familiar with the briefing.

The briefers made clear that they believe the attacks on intelligence officials overseas are ongoing and they discussed previously unreported suspected cases that emerged in a European country this year, according to two sources familiar with the cases.

CNN first reported last week that federal agencies are also investigating a possible incident near the White House where a National Security Council staffer developed similar conditions to those who have reported suffered the debilitating constellation of symptoms known as "Havana syndrome," which often includes severe headaches, fatigue and loss of hearing.

US officials believe the symptoms affecting US personnel overseas could be the result of attack by some type of weapon that aims pulsed radiofrequency energy at its victims.

President Joe Biden's new CIA director, Bill Burns, has committed to prioritizing an investigation into the attacks but the extraordinary briefing revealed that a lot of work needs to be done on this complex and disturbing issue -- particularly in terms of accountability for how the agency initially mishandled cases, including failing to properly provide medical care to officials affected and coordinating the investigation across government, according to the sources familiar with the briefing.

The briefers -- who were members of the CIA task force looking into the attacks -- did not provide a clear timeline of when certain information had been discovered and why it was only being shared with the senators then, which led some members to believe that the agency had previously been hiding that information from Congress, the…
Kylie Atwood and Jeremy Herb, CNN
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