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Around 200 Americans Are Now Being Evaluated For Havana Syndrome; Officials

The wave of fresh reports includes reports of new incidents worldwide, along with 200 Americans who have described possible symptoms of directed energy attacks, officials say. The government’s official with knowledge about new cases of Havana Syndrome said that foreign posts have been sending in numerous reports of new incidents – often several times per week.

Around 200 Americans Are Now Being Evaluated For Havana Syndrome; Officials

US officials and others briefed about the matter said the incident recently occurred in Berlin that ended the assignment of one American diplomat to Germany. In addition to Antarctica, officials say there may now be cases on all continents except one. One American baby has suffered these symptoms in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan in the past year, officials said.

Around 200 Americans Are Now Being Evaluated For Havana Syndrome; Officials

According to two officials, about half of the cases involved CIA officers or their relatives, while around 60 involved Defense Department employees, and close to 50 centered around the State Department. Several FBI personnel – both current and former – have confided in sources about experiencing symptoms while abroad, especially in Europe and Central Asia. Several FBI employees have reported they have been attacked in Vienna, with some cases possibly dating back over a decade.

According to an FBI spokesperson, the Bureau cannot confirm nor deny that specific investigations are underway. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management, Christopher Wray, stressed in recent testimony before Congress that the safety, health, and welfare of the U.S. government employees is the priority; we consider U.S. government employees experiencing these symptoms to be potential victims of their illnesses, and we care about their well-being deeply.

As part of an interagency process led by the [National Security Council], the Defense Department is heavily involved in determining the causes and the sources of anomalous health incidents. The Department of Homeland Security continues to place a top priority on the safety, health, and welfare of its employees.

Officials indicated that government workers had been encouraged to notify officials if they had experienced symptoms, but cautioned that not all people who had experienced symptoms would be considered cases of Havana Syndrome.

In some cases, such incidents have resulted in confusion and disruption for U.S. servicemen and women who dedicate their lives to their country. Taking care of them deserves careful attention and we will find the truth as soon as possible is of paramount importance to our government.

An American was sent home by Vienna officials after experiencing severe symptoms. It was The New Yorker that first reported that Vienna was suffering from up to two dozen cases. Americans believe that they do not know what is causing the strange neurological symptoms they experienced when they first arrived in Cuba, and in public, they avoid using the word “attack” in place of “anomalous health incidents.”

A report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine last year concluded that some of the observed brain damage could be the result of directed microwave energy, a technology used by Russia. According to NBC News, Washington intelligence officials considered Russia a leading suspect in a series of attacks perceived by some to have targeted diplomats and CIA officers overseas intentionally. Officials who were briefed about the matter said there was no conclusive intelligence pointing there, and there is none now.

As a result of the analysis of the symptoms and medical records of more than 40 State Department employees and other government employees, the National Academies of Sciences report concluded that nothing like the symptoms previously existed in the medical literature. Dizziness, unsteady gait, and visual disturbances often accompany hearing a loud noise and feeling pressure in the head. The effects of their injuries were debilitating for many years afterward.

CIA Director William Burns has made a promise that employees who report such incidents will be taken seriously and treated accordingly. As with the CIA panel, State Department experts have access to relevant classified information when examining cases. People with knowledge of the situation told three people that some U.S. government workers have encountered skepticism and disbelief following reports of worrying incidents in Western Europe.

U.S. diplomats have discussed an incident this year in which a worker reported a potential threat in Europe but was ignored, told that they were serving in a region where U.S. agents would not likely be attacked.

It became apparent that some of the cases initially thought to be associated with Havana Syndrome were not. After observing a Russian helicopter on the horizon over Syria, for example, a group of American troops reported symptoms, but it ended up that they had suffered food poisoning.

To gather new information, the United States intelligence agencies have increased their efforts. They examine cell phone records and geolocation information to collect clues about the times and locations of the events, officials say. A CIA analysis of geolocation data indicated that Russian agents were close to the scenes of some of these incidents, but the findings are not considered conclusive owing to U.S. officials regularly being watched.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., introduced legislation to allow victims of workplace injuries to access specialized medical care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. As a result, the U.S. government is working to centralize and improve care for injured workers in the nation. Three people informed of the plans said the government is considering providing acute and chronic patient care at a prominent academic institution. After sending its workers to the University of Miami and the University of Pennsylvania, the government will turn to a third academic institution if selected.

The government agencies, concerned about the incidents continuing well into the future, have refocused their efforts on “mitigating” – finding ways to reduce the risk to employees – as well as identifying patterns of attacks to prevent them from happening again. According to three people with knowledge of the devices, the Diplomatic Security Service of the State Department helped to develop and deploy small physical detection devices in Cuba and a handful of other embassies based on the theory that pulsed microwaves affect people’s brains. In part because of their classified nature, they declined to disclose any details.

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