WASHINGTON — A new C.I.A. task force is trying to expand efforts to find the cause of a series of mysterious incidents that injured its officers around the world, the agency said this week, episodes that have occurred in Cuba, China, Russia and elsewhere.
The task force will work with the State Department as well as other intelligence agencies to gather fresh evidence about the episodes and re-examine existing material to draw conclusions on whether attacks occurred and, if so, what caused the injuries and who was responsible.
“C.I.A. is working alongside other government agencies to double down on our efforts to find answers regarding the unexplained global health incidents that have impacted personnel,” said Timothy L. Barrett, the C.I.A. press secretary. “The agency’s top priority has been and continues to be the well-being of all of our officers.”
Although the task force was formally established in December, the announcement of the new efforts comes after William J. Burns, the Biden administration’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., pledged during his confirmation hearing to review the evidence surrounding the incidents, which he described as attacks on agency personnel.
Guangzhou, China, started experiencing the symptoms. A third group of C.I.A. officers, many of them working on countering Russian intelligence activities, have been affected in a variety of countries. The incidents have continued in recent months.
Some current and former government officials believe Russia is behind the incidents, though neither the State Department nor C.I.A. has reached that conclusion.
A report from the National Academy of Sciences said a microwave weapon was most likely the cause of the injuries. While the report has convinced a number of the victims, some experts have viewed skeptically the evidence a microwave weapon was responsible.
injured while visiting Moscow, said it was clear from the hearing that Mr. Burns would “engage in a robust investigative effort to find the actors involved and hold them accountable.”
Until Mr. Burns is sworn in and begins his own review, the C.I.A. is not expected to make any new conclusions. But the agency appears eager to signal that it is taking the issue seriously.
The task force will be made up of medical experts, human resources specialists and intelligence officers, some on a full-time basis, as the agency seeks a better understanding of the episodes.