State Dept. report suggests Russia is behind 4 years of attacks on U.S. officials

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After months of pressure from Congress, the State Department provides lawmakers and other officials with a report by 19 experts in medicine and other fields into mysterious attacks on Americans overseas. The report is intended to remain private, but the media obtains a copy.

Since 2016, dozens of federal employees visiting overseas countries have been hit with “Havana syndrome,” an unknown illness named for the first location it was known to have appeared. Symptoms include physical pain, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, memory loss, hearing loss, and inability to stay balanced. Some officials have been forced into early retirement due to permanent side effects.

The new report concludes that the most likely cause of the “syndrome” is radiofrequency energy, like microwaves, pulsated at specific targets — and Russia has motive.

GQ and The New York Times reported in October that the latest victims were CIA officers traveling overseas to meet with foreign intelligence agencies about countering Russia’s covert operations.

Though couched in careful, scientific language, the new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to “directed” and “pulsed” — rather than “continuous” — energy, implying that the victims’ exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy, such as, for example, a cellphone.

It also said the committee found the immediate symptoms that patients reported — including strange sensations of pain, pressure and sound that often appeared to emanate from a particular direction, or occurred in a specific spot in a room — were more consistent with a directed “attack” of radiofrequency energy.

The New York Times

Despite the seriousness of the “illness” and the wide speculation that the culprit has to be a weapon, the Trump Administration has made an effort to avoid public attention on the matter since 2018.

The question of Moscow’s possible culpability is a thorny one, given the sensitivities around President Trump on any matters involving Russia or President Vladimir V. Putin. Moscow has denied any role, and Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, has not concluded the Kremlin was responsible. But some C.I.A. analysts who are Russia experts, diplomats and scientists contend that evidence points to Moscow, which has a long history of experimenting with the technology.

The New York Times


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