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.

00:00:00 8/17/2017

Past Episodes

Bill Browder says he's Russian President Vladimir Putin No. 1 enemy. The reason is the Magnitsky Act, which punishes Russia for corruption. Browder says the Russian government has spent millions of dollars to capture him. He believes they're trying to kill him. In early June, a bizarre episode played out in Madrid that seems to confirm that claim. Browder spoke to Target USA about what happened.
00:00:00 8/15/2018
After President Donald Trump's historic summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, Putin suggested a trade of sorts. It involved the 12 people indicted in the U.S. on election interference charges and 11 Americans whom Russian authorities would like turned over for "questioning." Some security experts have suggested the Americans might be in danger if such a swap were allowed. Kyle Parker, chief of staff of the Helsinki Commission, is one of those people. And while calm about it all, he's very concerned. And he told Target USA why.
00:00:00 8/8/2018
When she was arrested on July 15, Maria Butina, a 29-year-old Russian woman, was portrayed in an online profile as a recent graduate of the American University's Kogod School of Business. She was well-known in conservative political circles around Washington as being pro-gun rights, pro-Russia and pro-Trump. But the FBI thought she was up to something more. In this episode we talk to a classmate, two journalists who got to know her and her attorney about who Maria Butina really is.
00:00:00 8/1/2018
What happened between President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin during their one-on-one meeting July 16 in Helsinki may not be fully known for a long time -- if ever. But on this episode, we look at the historic press conference between the two and the fallout afterward. Reuters White House Correspondent Jeff Mason explains what it was like to be in the room. And Robert Baer, who worked almost a decade on Russia issues for the CIA, explains the disgust his former colleagues felt watching the press conference, during which Trump seemed to side with Putin against them.
00:00:00 7/25/2018
On June 30 and July 1, four people were arrested by Belgian, French and German authorities. They allegedly had planned to bomb a massive gathering of people who oppose the Iranian regime. Among them were current high-profile officials from the U.S government, military and national security communities. The group that put the event together is the National Council of Resistance of Iran, led by Maryam Rajavi. The operation to attack the event was allegedly being plotted by a sleeper cell. One of the members that were arrested was carrying TATP, a very volatile explosive that could've caused tremendous damage. Joining is on this program is Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of National Council of Resistance of Iran, to explain in detail what happened.
00:00:00 7/18/2018
Alexander Goldfarb was close friends with Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence officer, who was poisoned to death in London in 2006. Two Russian intelligence operatives were behind it. But after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, another former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia in March of this year, Russian government-linked media outlets began accusing Goldfarb of killing his friend. Then things turned bizarre. He got a visit from the FBI and his friend's father began accusing him of killing Litvinenko. Now Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, have decided to take action. We have exclusive details on this episode.
00:00:00 7/11/2018
Many of Russia's neighbors are concerned about its revanchist intentions. They are worried about the mixed and confusing messages coming from Russia. On one hand, Kremlin officials say they support the independence and free will of neighboring countries, as long as that free will doesn't lead to an alliance with the EU. That's part of the problem going on in Moldova. Foreign Minister Tudor Ulianovschi was in Washington on June 25 to along with Prime Minister Pavel Filip. Ulianovschi talked about the situation while visiting with Target USA.
00:00:00 7/4/2018
On June 20, 2018, Russia's state run news outlet, Interfax, reported that the government had issued its seventh Red notice seeking the arrest of hedge fund manager Bill Browder. Browder, founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, joined Target USA to talk about the intensified efforts to capture him and, in his words, eventually... kill him.
00:00:00 6/27/2018
The 2018 NATO Summit is coming up in July in Brussels. Three of the top agenda items are improving the speed of decision making, refining the readiness of NATO forces and enhancing the mobility of NATO forces. Russia is the main reason for this urgency. Three top officials from the EU spoke to Target USA about it.
00:00:00 6/20/2018
James Clapper spent more than 50 years in the U.S. intelligence community. His last posting was director of national intelligence, serving under President Barack Obama. He's written a book about his career called "Facts and Fears." He spoke with Target USA, and candidly discussed "the truth about Russia's role in the presidential election," the Osama bin Laden raid, the Benghazi attack, and the Edward Snowden leaks.
00:00:00 6/13/2018

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