The Case of the Sick Spies (Rerun)

In late 2016, staff at the American Embassy in Havana began hearing strange noises and experiencing odd symptoms: headaches, nausea, dizziness. Had they been targeted by a secret weapon, perhaps deployed by Russia? Or was there some other explanation for the ailments? Hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to four people who have closely followed Havana syndrome, as it came to be known: Jack Hitt, who covered the story for Vanity Fair in 2019; Tim Weiner, author of The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020; Adam Gaffney, a physician; and Natalie Shure, a columnist for TNR who covers health policy. What was the diplomatic context in which Havana syndrome appeared? Why is the secret weapon theory so attractive? And is there a likelier explanation for the mysterious illness?  The show, which originally aired in February 2021, has been updated to account for more recent developments.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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