Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

An FBI agent was victim of a Havana Syndrome ‘attack’ in Key West, lawyer tells Congress

View of the U.S. embassy in Havana, on Feb. 3, 2022. (Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

An FBI agent was the victim of a Havana Syndrome “attack” in Key West, the agent’s lawyer told members of Congress in during a hearing Wednesday expanding on new information recently published by three media outlets suggesting Russia might be attacking U.S. officials at home and abroad.

An active FBI special agent, identified only as Carrie, who appeared in disguise in a CBS 60 Minutes show on March 31 about Havana Syndrome, told the network she was “hit” in an undisclosed place in Florida in what she believed was one of the mysterious incidents linked to the so-called Havana Syndrome.

At the time, she was investigating a suspected Russian spy who had been arrested in the Florida Keys in 2020. She said she was “hit” again in California a year later.

During the Wednesday hearing organized by the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, her lawyer, Mark Zaid, referred to her “incident” in Key West. In his full written testimony, Zaid, who was was also interviewed by 60 Minutes, wrote that the FBI agent appeared in the show to discuss “her attacks that occurred in Key West, Florida.”

Asked about domestic incidents of Havana Syndrome, he referred to “a number of FBI personnel down in Florida” and CIA intelligence agents who have been targets in D.C. and northern Virginia.

U.S. intelligence officials and diplomats around the world reporting “anomalous health incidents” — the U.S. government term for Havana Syndrome — have described experiencing pressure, noises or being suddenly hit with an array of symptoms like hearing and vision problems, migraines and cognitive deficits. Some were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.

Some have already died, Zaid said, saying he was declining to share more details to protect their families’ privacy.

The incidents first became public in Havana in 2016, leading to the name for the battery of symptoms, but a case in Frankfurt in 2014, first reported by the Miami Herald, pushed back the timeline.

U.S. government agencies are compensating some of the people affected after Congress passed the Havana ACT in 2021. But last year, some intelligence agencies, led by the CIA, issued an assessment concluding that it was unlikely that a foreign adversary was attacking U.S. officials, though some of those agencies expressed low confidence in that judgment.

Scientific studies have published contradictory information, frustrating the victims. A study by the National Institutes of Health with Havana Syndrome victims has been suspended while an independent board reviews it after complaints by participants, first made public by the Miami Herald.

Some of those scientific studies have said the technology to cause the injuries described by the victims does not exist. Others, like a study commissioned by the U.S. government by the National Academy of Sciences, concluded the opposite: that radiofrequency was likely used and that the technology is commercially available.

Christo Grozev, an investigative Russian journalist for the website The Insider who partnered with 60 Minutes and German magazine Der Spiegel to publish a detailed investigation potentially connecting a sabotage unit in the Russian military intelligence services to at least four Havana Syndrome incidents, said during the hearing Wednesday he has seen one of these weapons.

He went on to describe what he said was a 1991 version.

“It looked like a satellite dish with a unit this size attached to it,” he said, making a gesture suggesting a small size. “It is something that could be well contained in the trunk of a car or even a large backpack.”

Later, he added that a “crude” version of this weapon could be put together “inexpensively.”

In their accounts to Congress, Zaid and Greg Edgreen, a retired lieutenant colonel who was in charge of a Defense Intelligence Agency investigation into Havana Syndrome, referred to Russia’s history of using microwaves to radiate the U.S. embassy in Moscow, along with public information suggesting that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been pursuing the development of direct-energy weapons in recent years.

In his piece for The Insider, Grozev said he obtained a document showing a Russian GRU military intelligence unit he had been investigating in connection to the Havana Syndrome, “Unit 29155,” had won an award in 2017 for the development of “a non-lethal acoustic weapon suitable for use in urban combat.”

On Wednesday, he offered a novel theory about Russia’s motivation to developed such weapon.

He said that after publishing his investigation, a former Russian intelligence agent told him Russia has been working to develop an energy weapon since the 1980s, because, the former agent said, “we thought the Americans were doing that to us and we wanted to developed a countertechnology.”

Grozev said he believes at least 68 cases of Havana Syndrome could not be explained away by citing pre-existing conditions or other known causes.

Grozev’s and 60 Minutes’ initial revelations have reopened the debate about Havana Syndrome and prompted Congress to seek more information from intelligence agencies about what they know.

The problem, Zaid said, is that most of the relevant information is classified. Having had access to classified information on these incidents, he believes “the Executive Branch, particularly at the behest of and manipulation by officials within CIA, is not truthfully reporting what it knows.”

“The evidence that exists in the classified arena… directly contradicts the public conclusions,” he added. “Numerous federal agencies have failed to fully undertake substantive investigations, deliberately delayed collecting or ignored crucial credible evidence and have intentionally withheld information even from sister agencies so as to influence and manipulate their decision-making process.”

He refrained from using the word “cover-up,” as he did when interviewed by 60 Minutes, telling members of Congress that they should investigate whether the blocking of classified information has legitimate national security motives.

Edgreen did not go that far Wednesday as to directly name Russia as the culprit, as he did in the 60 Minutes show, but told the congressional committee that he found a very strong Russian “nexus.”

The intelligence community assessment “is dead wrong,” he said. “It’s my firm belief we already have attribution. Right now is the time for action, for retribution.”

He blamed CIA analysts and lack of resources for the failures in the investigation. He said the government was “gaslighting” Havana Syndrome victims because it didn’t want to grapple with the consequences of attributing these incidents.

“The gaslighting of …survivors continues to this day in some government agencies, as history repeats itself,” he said, recounting the U.S. government’s reluctance over the years to acknowledge war-related injuries linked to the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War or burn pits in the Middle East.

Edgreen now heads a company, Advanced Echelon LLC, whose goal is to “take care” of Havana Syndrome survivors. He and Zaid urged members of Congress to expand access to medical care for those affected.

“America’s best men and women in national security are being targeted and neutralized around the world in a global campaign,” Edgreen said before citing Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, who wrote in a 2023 article that in recent years, “hundreds” of foreign intelligence agents and people involved in “subversive activities” against Russia “have been neutralized.”


© 2024 Miami Herald

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.