A U.S. intelligence officer who traveled with CIA director William Burns in India this month has reportedly developed symptoms consistent with Havana Syndrome, an illness believed to be associated with mysterious sonic attacks.
Three unnamed sources familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday that a member of Burns’ team had to receive medical attention after developing Havana Syndrome symptoms.
Havana Syndrome has affected dozens of U.S. diplomats, intelligence officials and even deployed troops in recent years. Victims of Havana Syndrome have described hearing a grating noise and experiencing headaches, memory and hearing loss and nausea. The strange illness is so-named after diplomatic personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba first began reporting symptoms.
The cause of this pattern of illnesses, which have affected U.S. officials both outside of the U.S. and domestically, is actively being investigated. The Associated Press reported there are at least 200 Havana Syndrome cases under investigation, about half of which involving intelligence personnel.
One theory is that U.S. officials are being specifically targeted by a pulsed radiofrequency microwave device. Russia has been considered a leading suspect who may have the technical capabilities to maliciously target U.S. personnel with a microwave device. China and Israel also may possess the capacity to launch illness-inducing directed radiofrequency energy attacks, but neither country has the same presence in all of the suspected attack locations as Russia.
The latest reported Havana Syndrome incident in India is the second time in less than a month that officials in President Joe Biden’s administration have seen their foreign travel disrupted by the possible microwave attacks. A reported case of Havana Syndrome in Hanoi may have disrupted Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Vietnam in late August.
The latest report Havana Syndrome incident is also concerning as the CIA director’s travel schedule is tightly held, CNN reported.
“We don’t comment on specific incidents or officers. We have protocols in place for when individuals report possible anomalous health incidents that include receiving appropriate medical treatment,” a CIA spokesperson told CNN. “We will keep doing everything we can to protect our officers.”
This summer, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines launched an investigation into the causes of Havana Syndrome. The investigation is seeking to determine the “mechanism” behind any possible malicious attacks, and determine what measures could be taken to protect against such attacks.
Last week, the Department of Defense set up a designated channel for military, civilian personnel and DoD contractors to report Havana Syndrome-like cases, which the department referred to as Anomalous Health Incidents (AHIs).