Robert Skvarla, Jr. filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking #


Due Nov. 8, 2022
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Robert Skvarla, Jr.

To Whom It May Concern:

You are receiving this correspondence as a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. subsection 552. I am requesting the following:

Copies of 2018 reports issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the subject of Havana Syndrome: first, an interim report dated January 4, 2018, from the FBI's Operational Technology Division; and second, a report, date unknown but issued that same year, from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. If these two items constitute one larger report issued at a later date, please clarify in writing and release all responsive documents.

The Operational Technology Division (OTD) interim report was first identified in a story published by the Associated Press on January 18, 2018 ("Tillerson tells AP Cuba still risky; FBI doubts sonic attack"). Existence of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) report was made public by then-New Yorker journalist Adam Entous on May 24, 2021 ("Are U.S. Officials Under Silent Attack"). The OTD reports covers the FBI's findings regarding the likelihood of an attack on U.S. diplomats using so-called "sonic weapons," while the latter BAU report includes conclusions about the psychological states of Havana Syndrome victims based, according to Entous, "on transcripts of previous interviews that the F.B.I. had done with the patients." There should be no concerns over national security in releasing these reports. Similar information is conveyed in a 2018 report commissioned by the State Department and issued by the JASON advisory group, and is publicly accessible courtesy of a Buzzfeed News article published on September 30, 2021 ("A Declassified State Department Report Says Microwaves Didn’t Cause 'Havana Syndrome'"); the National Academies of the Sciences also published findings on the subject in a 2020 report titled "An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies".

The OTD and BAU reports are of immense public interest at this time. The BAU report in specific has been referenced in over a dozen articles since Entous first reported on it, including additional coverage in The New Yorker, as well as writing in the following publications: the Harvard Gazette ("Rush to stop ‘Havana syndrome’", October 8, 2021); Reuters ("FBI calls dealing with 'Havana Syndrome' a top priority", November 24, 2021); and the New York Times ("Most ‘Havana Syndrome’ Cases Unlikely Caused by Foreign Power, C.I.A. Says", January 20, 2022). The newsworthiness of Havana Syndrome alone should warrant the release of both reports but the fact that the BAU report continues to appear in news coverage indicates that it too is an item of continued public interest. Additionally, Entous has already reported the conclusion of the BAU report in The New Yorker article, noting that the Bureau ruled patients suffering from Havana Syndrome were/are suffering from some form of psychogenic illness. Although the Bureau may no longer hold this position publicly, prior disclosure of this information by a news organization should nullify any need for discretion, whether on behalf of the patients or the Bureau.

I am asking you waive any fees associated with this request. I am a member of the news media, with bylines including Covert Action Magazine, Janata Weekly, and Philly Voice. Please take note of the Office of Management and Budget guidelines published March 27, 1987 (52 FR 10012) that include electronic publications and other nontraditional publishers as representatives of the news media.

This request is not being made for commercial purposes. All documents will be provided to the general public without charge.

In the event that there are fees, I am willing to pay up to $100. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

I look forward to your response within 20 working days, as the statute requires. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.


Robert Skvarla, Jr.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The request has been rejected by the agency.