ODNI releases IC assessment on AHIs
“Today we are sharing key judgments and investigative efforts from our Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Anomalous Health Incidents (AHIs). This assessment builds on the Intelligence Community’s (IC) interim findings released last year, which described the IC’s judgment that U.S. adversaries, including Russia, were not engaged in a global campaign resulting in AHIs, but indicated that we continued to investigate whether a foreign actor was involved in a subset of cases. Since then, we continue to surge resources and expertise across the government to explore all possible explanations.
Based on the latest IC-wide effort, which has resulted in an ICA that will be issued today, I can share with you that most IC agencies have now concluded that it is “very unlikely” a foreign adversary is responsible for the reported AHIs. IC agencies have varying confidence levels because we still have gaps given the challenges collecting on foreign adversaries — as we do on many issues involving them.
As part of this review, the IC identified critical assumptions surrounding the initial AHIs reported in Cuba from 2016 to 2018, which framed the IC’s understanding of this phenomenon, but were not borne out by subsequent medical and technical analysis. In light of this and the evidence that points away from a foreign adversary, causal mechanism, or unique syndrome linked to AHIs, IC agencies assess that symptoms reported by US personnel were probably the result of factors that did not involve a foreign adversary, such as preexisting conditions, conventional illnesses, and environmental factors.
Needless to say, these findings do not call into question the very real experiences and symptoms that our colleagues and their family members have reported. Officers did exactly what we asked them to do: to take our guidance seriously and report suspicious experiences and symptoms. We are sincerely grateful to those who came forward as it helped to not only shape our response, but identify areas where we need to improve our medical and counterintelligence protocols, which remains an ongoing process.
This work will and must endure. We will continue to prioritize our work on such incidents, remaining vigilant regarding information that would undercut the IC’s judgments and continuing to respond to individuals who report incidents, including investing in health resources for such purposes. We will also continue to act on the recommendations provided by the IC Experts Panel and invest in research to understand our adversaries’ evolving capabilities and to look for answers to the questions that remain.”
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