New incidents involving “Havana Syndrome”, the name attributed to a range of symptoms first reported by U.S. Embassy personnel in Cuba in late 2016, have been ongoing according to officials who say additional cases have occurred on a nearly weekly basis.
To date, an estimated 200 Americans have said they have experienced such symptoms, according to recent reports cited by U.S. officials.
Among the most recent incidents had been a U.S. diplomat traveling in Germany who began to suffer symptoms while in Berlin. The news arrives as the Biden Administration is following up with Austrian officials who are investigating similar events that occurred in Vienna in recent days, during talks which focused on the Iran Nuclear deal.
While U.S. officials continue to investigate the incidents and their possible underlying causes, the recent reports appear to suggest at least two factors that many of them have in common: the prevalence of symptoms among CIA employees, as well as a rise in cases occurring in Europe.
Of those affected, it is believed that roughly half of all cases involve CIA personnel or family members. FBI agents have also come forward complaining of symptoms, which include recent incidents under investigation in Vienna. It is also understood that nearly five dozen employees of the Department of Defense have suffered symptoms, as well as more than four dozen individuals associated with the State Department.
While there appears to have been a concentration of incidents in Europe in recent days, U.S. officials have now said that cases appear to have been logged on every continent but Antarctica.
At least one infant child is now also among the Americans who have experienced symptoms believed to be associated with Havana Syndrome. The incident in question was said to have occurred in Kyrgyzstan within the last twelve months.
The Biden administration has advised government employees to come forward if they believe they have experienced symptoms themselves, as investigations into the underlying causes of these purported attacks remain underway.
In June, the Biden administration announced the formation of a pair of new panels of experts that have been tasked with studying the unexplained incidents and the symptoms being described by affected U.S. personnel. The panels are expected to be comprised of both government and non-government experts, who will explore questions about the source of the illness, whether they do indeed constitute attacks, and also how they can be best treated as cases continue to rise.
Also earlier this year, the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act (S.1828 – HAVANA Act of 2021) was introduced to aid U.S. personnel that have experienced physical effects from suspected directed energy attacks associated with Havana Syndrome. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate, and will authorize financial support for victims through “the provision of payment to personnel of the Central Intelligence Agency who incur qualifying injuries to the brain, to authorize the provision of payment to personnel of the Department of State who incur similar injuries, and for other purposes.”
Maine Senator Susan Collins, who introduced the bill, had previously called for a “whole-of-government” approach toward resolving these ongoing incidents involving U.S. personnel around the world.
In April, reports out of Washington DC indicated that officials were investigating new attacks matching the characteristics of Havana Syndrome that were believed to have occurred in or near the nation’s capital. One of the incidents involved a White House staffer walking her dog in a Virginia suburb, while another was believed to have taken place at President’s Park South, involving a National Security Council official.
Among the range of symptoms that U.S. personnel have described are headaches, nausea, vertigo, and other conditions which appear to be consistent with directed beam energy attacks. However, to date no direct evidence of such technologies used in conjunction with these suspected attacks has been disclosed publicly.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the new incidents during a briefing on Monday, saying that the National Security Council “is coordinating a full review of intelligence reporting to ascertain whether there may be previously unreported incidents that fit a broader pattern.”
“At this time,” Psaki added, “we still don’t know the cause of these incidents or whether they constitute an attack of some kind by a foreign actor.”
“These are areas of active inquiry,” Psaki said, “something that our intelligence community is working on and very focused on.”
Follow and connect with author Micah Hanks on Twitter:@MicahHanks