Report: State Department tried to downplay bizarre attacks on diplomats in Cuba

The State Department is coming under fire after an internal document revealed officials knew about the extent of the injuries to its diplomats in Cuba long before it acknowledged them. 

The document was from the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and it was obtained by CBS News

LEARN MORE: Mysterious sonic weapons reportedly caused brain injuries in U.S. diplomats in Cuba

Spokesperson Heather Nauert at the State Department admitted that the attacks and conditions were occuring only after CBS News Radio reported the news on August 9. 

When Nauert gave her briefing that day, she said she didn’t believe the number of injured Americans was in the tens or dozens. 

RELATED: See the embassy where the attacks allegedly occurred 

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People walk past the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A tour bus of Transgaviota drives past the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba June 13, 2017. Picture taken June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer
An exterior view of the U.S. Embassy is seen in Havana, Cuba, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
People wait in line to enter the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 20, 2017. Picture taken April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
People wait to enter the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 20, 2017. Picture taken April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A vintage car passes by in front of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Cuban flags fly near U.S flag beside the U.S embassy in Havana December 31, 2015. REUTERS/Enrique de la Osa
A man lowers the Cuban flag while standing amidst flagposts installed outside the U.S. embassy in Havana, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Flagposts installed outside the U.S. embassy cast their shadows on the sidewalk of the seafront Malecon in Havana, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Tourists pass by the U.S. Embassy in Havana, February 18, 2016. Picture taken February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Competitors run past the U.S. embassy during the Marabana marathon in Havana, November 15, 2015. In the year since detente, more Americans are visiting Cuba, and more Cubans are trying to reach the U.S., concerned that special treatment for Cubans may end. While foreigners are in a frenzy, most Cubans report little change. Although they have guaranteed education and healthcare and minimal fear of violent crime, their wages are poor and economic opportunities limited. Picture taken November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
The Cuban flag flies at half staff in recognition of the death of Fidel Castro, the long time leader of Cuba, at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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A source now claims that the State Department knew the number had gotten into double digits. 

"They for sure tried to keep the numbers secret," the source apparently said. 

Officials now say the sonic attacks have affected at least 21 Americans who were stationed in Havana. 

SEE MORE: Tillerson says US weighing closing embassy in Cuba over sonic attacks

The symptoms began in late 2016 and investigators are trying to figure out whether covert acoustic devices were used. 

Meanwhile the head of the Cuba Research Center Phil Peters calls the attacks “baffling.” 

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