The CIA has evacuated an intelligence officer from Serbia who was suffering from symptoms related to “Havana syndrome” as more cases of this mysterious neurological attack continue to affect US spies and diplomats.
This incident in the Balkans – which has not been previously reported – has taken place in recent weeks and continues a disturbing increase in attacks, The Wall Street Journal.
About a week ago, a CIA agent became ill with suspected Havana syndrome while on a work trip to India with CIA Director William Burns, and another agent developed the same symptoms in Vietnam about a month ago.
All unidentified officers reported the same symptoms associated with the unexplained syndrome, including headache, pain, nausea, or dizziness caused by noises, pressure, or heat.
There have been 200 reported cases of the as-yet-unexplained disease, popularly named after the first reported case in 2016 at the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba.
About half of the cases involved CIA agents or their relatives, nearly 60 were associated with Defense Department employees or relatives, and about 50 were involved in the State Department.
In August, the disease reportedly affected US personnel stationed on every continent except Antarctica, including a baby in one case.
There are 200 reported cases of the as-yet-unexplained disease, which is popularly named after the first reported case in 2016 at the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba, and affected US personnel on almost every continent except Antarctica.
The sonic weapon that could cause Havana syndrome is said to be a smaller version of this 1990s Soviet microwave generator preserved at the University of New Mexico
An unidentified CIA officer was evacuated from Serbia after experiencing symptoms related to unexplained Havana syndrome. The report comes a week after a second CIA officer who traveled to India earlier this month with CIA Director William Burns (pictured) experienced the same symptoms.
The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated, including whether the agent was targeted in India because of his proximity to Burns.
“A number of other cases have been reported in the past 60 to 90 days” on U.S. soil and worldwide, Dr. James Giordano, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University who advises the US government on the matter, told The Wall Street Log.
“They are seen as valid reports with verified health indicators.”
What causes Havana Syndrome remains a mystery.
Some theorize that the ssymptoms are inadvertently caused by monitoring equipment; while others believe incidents are caused by a mysterious sound weapon.
dr. Giordano told The Wall Street Journal that the cause could be some form of ultrasound or acoustic device; a fast pulsing microwave; or a laser-based system.
He told the paper the purpose is unclear, but could involve using an electronic surveillance system with unusual side effects, or “a discreet form of interfering device.”
“That’s a fancy way of saying this is a weapon,” he said.
On September 15, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo to DoD employees to report any symptoms of so-called Havana syndrome in an effort to get to the bottom of the mystery disease.
Austin advised personnel who believe they may have contracted Havana syndrome to: “Immediately remove yourself, colleagues and/or family member from the area and report the incident,” the memo, first reported by the United States, said. New York Times.
Although referred to as abnormal health incidents by US government officials, Havana syndrome got its informal name from the first reported case of the disease in 2016 at the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba (pictured)
What is the ‘Havana Syndrome’?
The problem has been labeled “Havana syndrome” as the first cases hit US embassy staff in Cuba in 2016.
According to a US defense official who was not authorized to discuss details publicly, at least 200 cases are now under investigation across the administration, up from several dozen last year. The National Security Council is leading the investigation.
People believed to be affected have reported headaches, dizziness and symptoms consistent with concussion, with some requiring months of medical treatment. Some have reported hearing a loud noise before symptoms suddenly started.
Investigators believe there are at least four cases involving Trump White House officials.
Supporters of those affected accuse the US government of failing to take the problem seriously or provide necessary medical care and benefits.
US senators last month said the government is investigating an apparent increase in mysterious targeted energy attacks.
The request came amid an intensified investigation by the US government into the causes of the disease and to discover who or what could be responsible.
“There’s a classic intelligence problem and we’re approaching it with the same techniques,” David S. Cohen, deputy CIA director at the annual Intelligence and National Security Summit in September, said The New York Times.
‘This is a serious problem. It’s real, it affects our agents, it affects others in their communities and in government.”
In August, Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Vietnam was delayed by more than three hours due to an “abnormal health incident in Hanoi,” what the US government officially calls suspected cases of Havana syndrome.
In May, reports emerged that some US officials suspect Russia’s infamous foreign intelligence agency — the GRU — could be the culprit.
A US military officer, based in a country with a large Russian presence, also said he felt his head might explode during an incident when he was near a GRU vehicle.
And Politico reported that government investigators were investigating a suspected attack on American personnel in Miami last year.
Earlier in July, Marc Polymeropolous, a former CIA officer and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, claimed that he was zapped by one of the attacks while visiting a Moscow hotel room in 2017 and blamed it for destroying his career, as well as for the debilitating headache he still gets. .
In October 2020, the story emerged of diplomat Mark Lenzi, 45, who was stationed in Guangzhou, China in 2017, when he developed unexplained symptoms, including headaches, memory loss and trouble sleeping.
His neighbor Catherine Werner also fell ill, and fellow U.S. official Robyn Garfield was evacuated from Shanghai with his family in June 2018.
The incidents in China cast doubt on theories that Russia was behind the attacks, as it is a country where Russian intelligence would struggle to operate.
The memo was issued to all 2.9 million DoD employees, including military personnel, civilians and contractors