A U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officer reported experiencing health symptoms similar to those of Havana Syndrome and received medical attention after CIA Director Bill Burns and his team traveled to India this month.
The incident alarmed the U.S. government and left Burns “fuming” with anger, CNN reported. Some CIA officials thought the episode was chilling and sent the message that no one is safe including those directly working for the top U.S. spy.
The situation in India could have dramatic implications. The director’s schedule is usually tightly guarded and there are deep concerns among U.S. officials about how the perpetrator would have known about the visit and been able to plan for such an aggression.
However, it is also possible that the officer was targeted for other reasons and without knowing that he was traveling with the director.
“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. We will keep doing everything we can to protect our officers,” said a CIA spokesperson.
This incident comes in less than a month since other cases of the mysterious illness were reported among the international travel of top Biden administration officials.
U.S. embassy staff in Hanoi, Vietnam, reported symptoms in August consistent with Havana Syndrome. This came just as Vice President Kamala Harris prepared to visit Vietnam as part of a planned weeklong visit.
News of the incident caused her to delay the trip for more than three hours until it was determined it was safe to proceed.
Havana Syndrome first came into public view in 2017 after U.S. diplomats and other government officials in Cuba reported feeling unusual physical sensations after hearing strange high- and low-pitched sounds.
Symptoms of Havana Syndrome include vertigo, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and intense headaches. Some people describe it as being hit by an invisible blast wave. Others have experienced permanent brain injuries and can no longer work.
It is suspected that the incidents are because of an attack or surveillance by Russian spies, though the evidence is inconclusive.
Investigations on the mysterious attacks are ongoing under Burns and the Director of National intelligence, including a 100-day probe into potential causes. The investigation is expected to be concluded before the end of 2021.
At least 200 government workers, mostly from the CIA and U.S. State Department, have reported suspected Havana syndrome symptoms and incidents on every continent except Antarctica.
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