Target USA Podcast by WTOP

Target USA -- Episode 78: US diplomats sickened, forced to leave Cuba after invisible attacker struck

"Official" Washington was rattled on Aug. 9 when news broke that U.S. diplomats in Havana had been sickened a mysterious illness that no one could put their finger on. It was so bad that several had to be sent home or reassigned. It had been going on for months. But no one had any answers until doctors determined they were likely suffering from some kind of ultrasonic device. It is a weapon that authorities struggled to define. CBS correspondent Steve Dorsey broke the story. He tells Target USA what he's learned. Also, former State Department counterintelligence official Robert Booth tells us he believes he's figured out what happened.

Target USA Podcast by WTOP
00:00:00 8/17/2017

Past Episodes

More than 600 high-level international decision makers from politics, business, academia and civil society along with throngs of media gathered in Munich for what was arguably the most important gathering in the 55-year history of the Munich Security Conference. But instead of harmony, conflict was center stage. NATO, defense cooperation, Russian aggression, cyber and climate change were just some of the many urgent problems discussed. What was accomplished? And will those accomplishments make a difference in the quest to resolve those problems? A chorus of powerful and candid voices join us on Target USA to assess this pivotal conference.
00:00:00 2/20/2019
On Feb. 7 Robert Cardillo retired as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. But, the day before he did that, he sat down with Target USA for a final time. And something he said was quite troubling -- true, but troubling.
00:00:00 2/13/2019
On Feb. 1, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. was going to withdraw from the historic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), negotiated in 1987 by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. This came after years of discussions, technical meetings and intelligence sharing by U.S. officials to show the Putin regime that it was breaking the rules of the treaty, that the U.S. knew about it, and that it would be best for all if Russia came back into compliance. Andrea Thompson, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, has led the State Department's efforts and joined Target USA to discuss the impact of the withdrawal and what's next.
00:00:00 2/6/2019
Paul Whelan is an American who was arrested on Dec. 28 in Moscow. The Russian government says he was caught red-handed committing espionage. But they've never said what he was doing -- except that he received a USB flash drive from someone in a hotel that allegedly contained classified information. And what's worse for the family is that the Kremlin is denying him the ability to get the help he needs from the U.S. government. Whelan's twin brother David Whelan returns to Target USA to explain the latest concerning developments. Among them is the Russian government's continued refusal to explain the charges.
00:00:00 1/30/2019
Nancy McNamara is assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. We continue the conversation we started with her in Episode 150. But in addition to the challenging work the FBI faces, its employees now have to face it all with no pay checks. The stark and grim reality of the impact of the federal government shutdown on U.S. national security and FBI employees is presented in a conversation with Tom O'Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association, on this program.
00:00:00 1/23/2019
On our last podcast episode, we talked with David Whelan about his brother Paul Whelan's detention in Russia on what many believe are bogus charges. The Russian government says he was caught in the act of committing espionage. But on this episode Valerie Plame, a former CIA covert operations officer, explains why Whelan is not likely a CIA spy and why Moscow probably framed him.
00:00:00 1/16/2019
On Dec. 28, former U.S. Marine and citizen of the U.S. citizen Paul Whelan disappeared in Russia. Since then, his story has captivated the world. Three days later he turned up in a Russian prison, arrested for allegedly committing espionage. What was he doing there? What's the basis for the charges? Is he a "pawn" in a political tug of war between the U.S. and Russia? In an extensive interview, Target USA spoke with Whelan's twin brother David Whelan, and got answers to all those questions and many more. Some of the answers may surprise you, and after you listen there'll be no doubt about just how serious this situation is.
00:00:00 1/9/2019
Russian and Chinese espionage operations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the international headaches the FBI has to deal with. The Washington Field Office of the FBI is in the eye of those storms and many others, from violent crime to terrorism and the opioid crisis. Nancy McNamara, assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office, sits down with Target USA for an extended look at the threats, challenges and actors it's facing.
00:00:00 1/2/2019
Russia's trolls, Kremlin linked assassinations, spies in the U.S., North Korea's missiles, the Skripal poisonings and the 25th anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing were all stories that dominated our coverage in 2018. And as we look back, we'll review those stories and others that made big headlines this year.
00:00:00 12/26/2018
Melvyn Levitsky is a retired State Department foreign service officer. He served, among other posts, as the U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria from 1984 to 1987, and as the political officer at the US Embassy in Moscow from 1972 to 1975. During those years he curated an astounding amount of intelligence about Soviet government oppression, corruption and other activities. Curiously, as Vladimir Putin's "regime" has been implicated in a blatant attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and, again, in the 2018 midterm elections, Levitsky's historical knowledge provides a clever and perceptive blueprint for how to confront a new Cold War.
00:00:00 12/19/2018

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