STRANGER THAN FICTION – Years after U.S. diplomats in Havana, Cuba reported strange illnesses in 2016 believed to be tied to some type of directed energy or ‘sonic’ weapon attack, and later similar incidents in Beijing and elsewhere, federal agents are reportedly now looking into similar suspected attacks near the White House. Defense officials briefed lawmakers on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on the threat earlier this month.
The attacks occurred last year while President Donald Trump was still in office, in addition to another suspected attack on a White House staffer in Arlington, Virginia the year prior. While the Pentagon and other agencies probing the matter still aren’t totally certain about what occurred, notes CNN, the fact that such an attack might have taken place so close to the White House is particularly alarming.
The suspected White House attack took place near the Ellipse, the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House where the Marine One presidential helicopter lands, according to CNN. The attacks sickened one National Security Council official as well as U.S. Secret Service agents, according to multiple current and former officials.
Their symptoms appear similar to mysterious, debilitating symptoms dozens of U.S. personnel abroad have also suffered.
Based on the original symptoms from attacks in Cuba, federal officials have dubbed these attack symptoms as ‘Havana Syndrome.’ The symptoms included a varying set of complaints that includes ear popping, vertigo, pounding headaches and nausea, sometimes accompanied by an unidentified “piercing directional noise.”
The US has struggled to understand these attacks since 2016, with some complaining that neither the State Department nor Intelligence Community (IC) was taking the threat seriously. Out of this frustration, Trump’s acting Defense Secretary sought to take the lead on the issue in late 2020.
“I knew CIA and Department of State were not taking this sh*t seriously and we wanted to shame them into it by establishing our task force,” Chris Miller, who was acting defense secretary at the time, told CNN last week. CNN continued:
Pentagon leaders set up the task force to track reports of such symptoms hitting Defense Department personnel overseas, an effort that Miller said was intended in part as a “bureaucratic power play” to force CIA and State to take the problem more seriously in their own personnel.
Miller said he began to see reports of these mysterious symptoms as a higher priority in December, after interviewing an alleged victim with extensive combat experience.
“When this officer came in and I knew his background and he explained in an extraordinarily detailed but more military style that I could understand, I was like this is actually for real,” Miller said. “This kid had been in combat a bunch and he knew.”
The CIA began its task force in December 2020, and expanded its efforts under new Director William Burns, who vowed during his confirmation hearings to review the evidence on the alleged attacks on CIA personnel overseas, which have long been publicly reported. The State Department named a senior official to lead the department’s response to the “Havana syndrome” attacks in March.
A New York Times report from December suggests the weapons used could be microwave based. Specifically, it noted the source could be “radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves.” This according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
More to the point, the NYT noted:
The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy” as “the most plausible mechanism” to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome.
While the government may be closing in on the type of weapon used, it still isn’t sure who might be behind the attacks. Still, America’s two major adversaries top the list of suspects. Defense officials who briefed lawmakers said Russia could be behind the attacks, but they still could not be certain. Another former US official involved in the investigation said China was also among the suspects. ADN