The Pentagon is investigating two mysterious incidents in Washington D.C. – one right next to the White House – that left a pair of government officials unwell, according to CNN.
The victims’ symptoms bring to mind the 2016 “Havana syndrome” attack on U.S. personnel in Cuba. At least 24 diplomats and family members complained of ear popping, vertigo, pounding headaches, nausea, and “piercing directional noise.” The Trump administration eventually decreased the size of its Havana staff.
Similar incidents occurred to American officials in China and Russia.
A study commissioned by the State Department last year found that “radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves,” was likely behind the head-scratching affair. The New York Times explained that the study pointed to the involvement of bad actors:
Though couched in careful, scientific language, the new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to “directed” and “pulsed” — rather than “continuous” — energy, implying that the victims’ exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy, such as, for example, a cellphone.
The two new incidents – one targeting a member of the National Security Council near the Ellipse, the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House, the other a White House official near her Virginia home – have drawn the attention of multiple federal agencies. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been briefed on the investigations by defense officials.
Chris Miller, who was acting defense secretary under President Trump, told CNN that the previous administration didn’t want to probe the issue. “I knew CIA and Department of State were not taking this sh*t seriously and we wanted to shame them into it by establishing our task force,” Miller said.
More from CNN:
Miller said he began to see reports of these mysterious symptoms as a higher priority in December, after interviewing an alleged victim with extensive combat experience.
“When this officer came in and I knew his background and he explained in an extraordinarily detailed but more military style that I could understand, I was like this is actually for real,” Miller said. “This kid had been in combat a bunch and he knew.”