US senators on Friday said that the government is investigating an apparent increase in mysterious directed-energy attacks dubbed “Havana syndrome,” amid new reports of potentially brain-damaging incidents inside the country.
US senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio, who lead the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement after two media reports said attacks had taken place in Washington, including just outside the White House, and in Miami, Florida.
“For nearly five years, we have been aware of reports of mysterious attacks on United States government personnel in Havana, Cuba and around the world,” they said. “This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing.”
The still unexplained attacks have caused sickness and even brain damage in US diplomats and intelligence officials in China, Cuba, Russia and other countries.
Moscow is suspected to be behind them, even if the mechanism for them has yet to be explained. Scientists have theorized that the attacks arise from pulsed microwaves.
Earlier this week, CNN, citing unnamed officials, said US federal agencies were investigating an incident at the White House Ellipse in November last year in which a US National Security Council staffer was sickened.
A year earlier, another White House official reported feeling some symptoms while walking her dog in the Washington suburb of Arlington, reports said.
Politico on Friday reported that government investigators are examining a suspected attack on US personnel in Miami last year.
Those affected experience similar symptoms reported in the original case affecting US diplomats in Havana in 2016.
Since the first attacks were reported in Cuba, and after that in China, scientists and doctors have debated the causes and effects, without a uniform conclusion.
CNN said that some members of the US Congress had been informed of the more recent incidents in closed-door intelligence briefings.
Neither the White House nor US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines denied the reports when questioned this week.
Haines told the US Senate Committee on Armed Services that she could not discuss the issue openly because it involved classified information.
Warner and Rubio said they welcomed renewed investigation by the CIA into the incidents, adding that it was important “to better understand the technology behind the weapon responsible for these attacks.”
“Ultimately we will identify those responsible for these attacks on American personnel and will hold them accountable,” they said.
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