The mysterious symptoms American spies and diplomats in Cuba and China have suffered could be due to a directed microwave energy, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences
The new report, which has been obtained by NBC News, does not explicitly say that the microwaves were deployed intentionally as a weapon, but does not rule that possibility out.
Medical and scientific experts from the Academies of Sciences studied 40 State Department employees and noted that no similar symptoms had previously been recorded in medical literature.
The employees suffered loud sounds and the feeling of pressure in their heads, dizziness and visual distress.
The American Embassy in Cuba where some of the 40 State Department employees who suffered debilitating neurological symptoms were working
For some the symptoms have been ongoing.
‘The committee felt that many of the distinctive and acute signs, symptoms and observations reported by (government) employees are consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy,’ the report says.
‘Studies published in the open literature more than a half-century ago and over the subsequent decades by Western and Soviet sources provide circumstantial support for this possible mechanism.’
While experts caution that the evidence is still inconclusive, ‘the mere consideration of such a scenario raises grave concerns about a world with disinhibited malevolent actors and new tools for causing harm to others, as if the US government does not have its hands full already with naturally occurring threats.’
NBC News says that American intelligence agencies used mobile phone data to track Russian spies who were allegedly working on microwave weapons.
CIA officials told NBC News that the data indicates the Russian agents were present in the same cities in which American diplomats reported the strange symptoms, though this does not constitute conclusive evidence.
“Overall, directed pulsed RF energy … appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases among those that the committee considered. … The committee cannot rule out other possible mechanisms and considers it likely that a multiplicity of factors explains some cases and the differences between others.”
In October, a report claimed that US officials on American soil have been targeted by sonic attacks on at least three different occasions.
An unnamed American diplomat and his family are said to have heard the mysterious sounds and fallen ill while stationed in Philadelphia in June 2018.
Both the diplomat and his wife are said to have reported pressure in their head before finding their children moving bizarrely and ‘in unison’ in their sleep.
In November 2019 a White House staffer, who has also not been identified, is said to have been targeted by a man while walking her dog in Arlington, Virginia.
She told officials she also got an intense headache and a tingling on her face following the incident and that her dog began seizing up.
The third incident has not been reported in detail. These incidents followed dozens of other similar complaints in Cuba and China, where diplomats reported headaches and memory loss.
One Russia-based CIA officer told GQ about his debilitating migraines amid growing suspicion the country is behind the mystery illness.
Marc Polymeropoulos fell ill with severe migraines after experiencing vertigo in his hotel room in Moscow in December 2017.
He told the magazine he was forced to retire because of the resulting pain, adding: ‘I had a lot more to offer. I was 50, but I had to retire because these goddamn headaches don’t go away.’
Marc Polymeropoulos fell ill with severe migraines after experiencing vertigo in his hotel room in Moscow in December 2017. He told GQ he was forced to retire because of the resulting pain
The Russia-based CIA officer has spoken to GQ about his debilitating migraines amid growing suspicion the country is behind the mystery illness. Polymeropoulos is pictured
Polymeropoulos says one of his colleagues became so ill he lost hearing in one of his ears
Polymeropoulos says one of his colleagues on the trip became so ill he lost hearing in one of his ears.
He added: ‘There’s a gentlemen’s agreement not to do these things. There’s never any physical stuff.
‘They (Russia) know that our president is at war with our intelligence community, so kick them when they’re down, get back at them for everything they’ve done before.’
‘If there was an al-Qaeda threat against our officers, we would do everything possible to shut it down, but also to catch the people involved.
‘I don’t see any of that happening here. What I would have expected would be this full court press that, you know, if we have senior people traveling and you think the Russians are going to hit him, have teams ready to try to capture.’
The American diplomat and his family said to have been targeted in Philadelphia also fell ill in China, according to reports.
Scientists, as well as experts at the CIA and State Department, told The New York Times Monday the most likely culprit behind the unexplained symptoms is Russia.
The CIA director and State Department say they have not established a cause.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that suggestion is ‘absolutely absurd and bizarre’. A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington said it was likely a case of ‘mass hysteria’.
But officials from the CIA and Capitol Hill have told GQ US agents have also been targeted in Australia, Taiwan, Georgia and Poland. Cell phone data is said to have placed Russian agents close to CIA officers at the time of these alleged attacks.
The CIA has said: ‘If there was credible intelligence that showed an adversary purposefully harmed a CIA officer, you can bet Director Haspel would act swiftly and decisively.’
Diplomat Mark Lenzi, 45, was stationed in Guangzhou, China, in 2017, when he developed unexplained symptoms, including headaches, memory loss and trouble sleeping.
His neighbor Catherine Werner also fell ill and fellow US official Robyn Garfield was evacuated from Shanghai with his family in June 2018.
Diplomat Mark Lenzi, 45, left, was stationed in Guangzhou in 2017, when he developed unexplained symptoms, including headaches, memory loss and trouble sleeping. His neighbor Catherine Werner, right, also fell ill
Lenzi, who says the US ‘know exactly which country’ was responsible said: ‘This is a deliberate, high-level cover-up. They have hung us out to dry.’
His symptoms were reported after the State Department started investigating similar health concerns reported by diplomatic staff in Cuba in late 2016.
The dozens of illnesses led the U.S. and Canada to sharply reduce the staffing at their embassies in Cuba.
The phenomenon also led to increased tension between Cuba and the Trump administration, which accused Cuba of bearing at least some responsibility for the illnesses.
The State Department has officially drawn no link between the Chinese diplomats and 26 workers at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba who were withdrawn in 2017 after reporting symptoms, including those consistent with minor traumatic brain injury, or concussion.
They said in a statement: ‘The safety and security of U.S. personnel, their families and U.S. citizens is our top priority. The U.S. government has not yet determined a cause or an actor.’
And spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said: ‘I will not try to confirm whether they are the victims of “an acoustic attack,” paranoia, or Russophobia. That’s a question for the doctors.’
But former national security official said of Russia: ‘These guys have been told they can take the gloves off and do whatever they want to hurt Americans.
‘They’re trying to weaken us generally, and they’ve obviously taken the gloves off quite some time ago.’
And John Sipher, who was a clandestine CIA officer in Russia and was deputy director of Russia House during George W. Bush’s presidency, said: ‘In general, the Russians have no compunction about doing this kind of thing.’