Story at a glance

  • Two U.S. officials in the Washington, D.C. area experienced the sudden onset of symptoms similar to what experts refer to as “Havana syndrome.”
  • The mystifying wave of brain injuries began in Cuba in 2016.
  • Suspected to be caused by a directed energy device, symptoms include nausea, headaches, loss of hearing and brain damage.

The White House is investigating a series of “unexplained health incidents” following the report that two U.S. officials in the Washington, D.C., area experienced the sudden onset of symptoms similar to what experts refer to as “Havana syndrome,” which has afflicted American diplomats abroad.

“We have our agencies working to get to the bottom of this,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said on MSNBC. “We take any threat to the potential safety of somebody working for the United States government seriously. So, we are working to get to the bottom of this. We are communicating directly with staff who may be impacted to let them know that there are resources available to them.”


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Victims of the attacks experienced symptoms close to those of the ones associated with "Havana syndrome," including nausea, headaches, loss of hearing and brain damage.

One of the attacks occurred in November on the lawn on the south side of the White House, where a member of the national security council suddenly became ill. 

The first noted one was in 2019 in Arlington, Va. A White House official was out walking her dog when a man emerged from a parked van and walked by 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,the report said.

The mystifying wave of brain injuries began in Cuba in 2016. The National Academy of Scientists reported that the injuries are most likely from the use of some sort of directed energy device.

The White House, the CIA, the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon are all investigating.


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Published on Apr 30, 2021