The White House has directed the State Department and government agencies to investigate “unexplained health incidents” that have caused symptoms similar to the “Havana syndrome” suffered by American diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad.
The White House released a statement saying that it is taking all actions against American citizens seriously.
“The White House is working closely with departments and agencies to address unexplained health incidents and ensure the safety and security of Americans serving around the world. Given that we are still evaluating reported incidents and that we need to protect the privacy of individuals reporting incidents, we cannot provide or confirm specific details at this time.”
The Mysterious Incidents Are Pilling Up
Several news sources reported that in late 2016 American embassy personnel in Cuba began experiencing unexplained symptoms, such as dizziness and pounding headaches, sometimes accompanied by an unidentified “piercing directional noise.” Then, these issues began to affect American personnel in Russia and China.
The National Academy of Scientists believes that the symptoms suffered are most likely the result of “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy,” possibly a microwave. The CIA, State Department, and the Pentagon have all launched investigations.
One former CIA career officer, Mark Polymeropolous was forced to retire last year due to what was diagnosed as “traumatic brain injury.” Polymeropoulos gave an interview to CNN talking about the incident.
Another recent incident took place on White House grounds. CNN was the first to report that in November last year near the Ellipse, the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House, a U.S. official from the national security council suddenly fell sick.
Another incident took place in 2019 and involved a White House staffer. As the staffer was walking her dog in Arlington, VA, a parked van stopped next to her, and a man got out and walked past her.
“Her dog started seizing up. Then she felt it too: a high-pitched ringing in her ears, an intense headache, and a tingling on the side of her face,” according to a CQ article reporting on the incident.
Other unreported incidents took place in Miami and in others, military attaches overseas were targeted.
Defense officials presented briefings to Congress on the matter.
All Signs Point to Russia as the Culprit
Nevertheless, investigators don’t yet have definitive evidence. Christopher Miller, the Trump administration’s acting Secretary of Defense, called the attacks on American personnel “an act of war.” Miller had launched an investigation last year and is urging the Biden administration to continue trying to pinpoint the source.
“If this plays out and somebody is attacking Americans, even with a nonlethal weapon… we owe it to our folks that are out there,” Miller said in an interview with Politico. “We owe it to them to get to the bottom of this.”
Miller attempted to get the Defense Department to lead the way last fall. “I knew CIA and Department of State were not taking this shit seriously and we wanted to shame them into it by establishing our task force,” Miller said in his own straight-shooter way to CNN last week.
CIA Director William Burns told members of Congress during his confirmation hearings that getting to the bottom of these attacks would be a priority. Thus, the CIA has created a task force to investigate these attacks.
Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released a statement saying they welcomed the CIA’s “renewed focus” on the matter. They added that they will continue to investigate.
“This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing,” Warner and Rubio said. “The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this.”