Biden administration denies Russia behind ‘Havana Syndrome’

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News

A stunning CBS investigative report suggests that U.S. diplomats, intelligence personnel, and other government workers and their families afflicted with a mysterious cognitive ailment may have been targeted by Russian sonic weaponry.

The “60 Minutes” report, which aired on Sunday, was the latest installment in a yearslong, joint investigation into the origins of what is known colloquially as the “Havana Syndrome” by the show’s producers, Russian independent newspaper The Insider, and Der Spiegel, a German weekly newspaper. 

The findings specifically linked multiple Havana Syndrome reports to Russia’s GRU Unit 29155, an intelligence team notorious for its role in assassinations and sabotage. The report referenced the discovery of “a receipt” for acoustic weapons testing and awards and promotions given to members of the unit for the weapon’s development. 

The investigation also found that many of the symptoms reported in suspected Havana Syndrome cases are consistent with the impact of sound or radio-frequency-based directed energy weapons. 

‘WORLDWIDE CAMPAIGN TO NEUTRALIZE US OFFICIALS’

Among the 1,500 suspected cases of Havana Syndrome, the onset of symptoms begins with hearing high-pitched noises and grating sounds, which the New Yorker said victims described as “sounds resembling an immense swarm of cicadas, following them from room to room.” When the noise stops, victims report experiencing symptoms including “debilitating headaches,” dizziness, hearing and vision impairment, and loss of balance and muscle control. According to the report, reports of these incidents “have been met with skepticism both inside and outside the government.”

Lt. Col. Greg Edgreen, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who led a Defense Department investigation into Havana Syndrome, told “60 Minutes” that he is confident that Russia is behind these attacks, which he believes is part of a “worldwide campaign to neutralize U.S. officials.” 

“Unfortunately, I can’t get into specifics, based on the classification. But I can tell you at a very early stage, I started to focus on Moscow,” Edgreen said.

He added, “This wasn’t happening to our worst or our middle range officers. This was happening to our top five, 10% performing officers across the Defense Intelligence Agency.  And consistently there was a Russia nexus. There was some angle where they’d worked against Russia, focused on Russia and done extremely well.” 

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, CIA DENY RUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT

The assertion contradicts findings from a U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) probe into the “anomalous health incidents” (AHIs). The IC concluded in a report that was declassified in March 2023 that it is “very unlikely” that a foreign adversary is responsible for the “Havana syndrome” ailments, as reported by FISM TV News.

Edgreen disputed the findings, arguing that the bar for proof of foreign involvement was set impossibly high, potentially to avoid the appearance that the U.S. government failed to protect its citizens.

The White House, Pentagon and State Department firmly coalesced behind the IC report on Monday as they fielded questions from reporters about the 60 Minutes investigation.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller referenced the IC’s findings at a press briefing, telling reporters, “It has been the broad conclusion of the Intelligence Community since March 2023 that it is unlikely a foreign adversary is responsible for these anomalous health incidents.” He added that the IC has looked “extensively” into the matter.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was also pressed about Russia’s possible involvement in the attacks.

“The intelligence community has not concluded that… that particular piece about Russia,” Jean-Pierre said. “I know that they had not concluded that.” 

At the Defense Department, Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh similarly told reporters, “In terms of any investigation, this is something that the intelligence community is at the forefront of and leading, so I’d refer you to the IC to speak more to that, particularly, ODNI.”

Singh did, however, confirm that a DoD official reported symptoms consistent with “anomalous health incidents” at a NATO summit last year.

‘AN ACT OF WAR’

Mark Zaid is an attorney representing two dozen U.S. government employees who claim that they were afflicted with Havana syndrome. Like Edgreen, Zaid believes that the government wants to stifle evidence of a Russian connection, but for a different reason.

“Well, there’s a number of reasons why we think the U.S. doesn’t want to blame Moscow, i.e. Putin and the Russians,” Zaid told FOX News. “One is essentially [that] this is an act of war.” 

Zaid told CNN in October 2022 that the CIA ignored reliable leads that might point to the source of the episodes.

“From what I have seen, there are tons of significant, credible leads that to the best of our knowledge the agencies are not addressing,” he said. “To me, this is where they need to be held accountable to explain why.”

Two months later, the agency released preliminary findings, which prompted immediate blowback.

A group that represents U.S. officials who have reported suspected incidents said that the report “has a ring of finality and repudiation.”

“We have reason to believe the interim report does not even represent the consensus of the full CIA, instead reflecting the views of a subset of officials most interested in resolution and closure,” the group Advocacy for Victims of Havana Syndrome said in a statement provided to NBC News.

FORMER FIRST LADY MAY HAVE BEEN AMONG FIRST KNOWN VICTIMS OF HAVANA SYNDROME

Havana Syndrome is widely believed to have first emerged in 2016, when U.S. and Canadian embassy staff in Havana, Cuba, reported hearing strange sounds followed by physiological symptoms now commonly associated with the phenomenon.

The “60 Minutes” investigation, however, discovered similar cases recorded in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2014.

According to another publication, however, the Havana Syndrome phenomenon dates back much further.

Lewis Regenstein wrote an article published in The Journal of Intelligence Studies Winter-Spring 2023 edition in which he cited an excerpt from former First Lady Laura Bush’s 2010 book “Spoken from the Heart.”

In one passage, Mrs. Bush recounted a 2007 trip she made with her husband, former President George W. Bush, to attend a G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. During the trip, she and other White House staff members fell mysteriously ill.

She writes, “By the afternoon of [June 7] I could barely stand up. My head inexplicably throbbed; I was horribly dizzy and nauseated.” She went on to describe hours of feeling “so awful that I thought I might die right there in the hotel room.”

The passage continues, “Nearly a dozen members of our delegation were stricken… For most of us, the primary symptoms were nausea or dizziness, but one of our military aides had difficulty walking and a White House staffer lost all hearing in one ear.”

‘MORE THAN ENOUGH EVIDENCE THAT RUSSIA IS THE CULPRIT’

Regenstein’s article also referenced an August 2021 trip to Vietnam by Vice President Kamala Harris, which was delayed for several hours following a report of “a recent possible anomalous health incident” at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi.

According to Regenstein, Americans have been stricken with symptoms not only in Moscow and Havana but also in cities in Australia, Austria, China, Colombia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Serbia, Taiwan, the U.K., Uzbekistan, Vienna, “and even outside the White House, where two separate incidents have occurred involving National Security Council staffers.”

He concludes, “While much about ‘Havana Syndrome’ remains a mystery, as administration officials stress, there is more than enough hard evidence to conclude with considerable confidence that Russia is the main culprit responsible.”

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