The mysterious neurological symptoms experienced by US diplomats in China and Cuba are in line with the effects of targeted microwave energy, according to a long-awaited report by the National Academy of Sciences, which cites medical evidence in support of US intelligence’s long-held conviction.
The report, obtained Friday by NBC News, did not conclude that the targeted energy was deliberately delivered with weapons, as some US officials have long believed. But that raises that disturbing possibility.
NBC News reported in 2018 that US intelligence considered Russia to be the prime suspect in some of what they say were deliberate attacks on diplomats and CIA officers abroad. But there was no – and it is not now – convincing intelligence service to suggest that, said several officials who had been briefed on the matter.
A team of medical and scientific experts studying the symptoms of as many as 40 State Department and other government employees concluded that nothing like them had previously been documented in the medical literature, according to a report by the National Academy of Sciences. Many reported hearing a loud sound and feeling pressure in the head, and then experienced dizziness, unstable gait, and visual disturbances. Many have suffered long-term, debilitating effects.
“The committee considered that many of the characteristic and acute signs, symptoms and observations reported by government employees were consistent with the effects of targeted, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy,” the report said. “Studies published in the open literature more than half a century ago and over the next decades from Western and Soviet sources provide tremendous support for this possible mechanism.”
While important questions remain, “the very consideration of such a scenario raises serious concerns for a world with disinfected malicious actors and new tools for harming others, as if the US government is no longer busy with naturally emerging threats,” the report said. , edited by Dr. David Rellman, Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology at Stanford, and Julie Pavlin, Physician Leading the Global Health Division of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.
In the last year, as first reported by GQ Magazine, a number of new incidents have been reported by CIA officers in Europe and Asia, including one involving Mark Polymeropoulos, who retired last year after a long and distinguished career as a CIA officer. the case. He told NBC News that he was still suffering from the effects of what he believed was a brain injury sustained during a trip to Moscow.
A source familiar with the matter told NBC News that the CIA, using cell phone location data, found that some Russian intelligence officers working on microwave weapons programs were present in the same cities at a time when CIA officers were experiencing mysterious symptoms. CIA officials say this is a promising lead, but not convincing evidence.
The State Department and the CIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday. Russia has denied any involvement in the incidents.
The study examined four possibilities to explain the symptoms: Infection, chemicals, psychological factors and microwave energy.
“In general, targeted pulsed RF energy е seems to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases among those considered by the committee. “The committee cannot rule out other possible mechanisms and considers it likely that a number of factors explain some of the cases and the differences between them.”
The report says more investigation is needed.
Electromagnetic energy, including frequencies such as radio and microwaves, has been considered a leading possibility since the earliest days of the mystery. Initially, researchers also considered the possibility that sound waves, toxins, or other mechanisms may have been involved, although evidence to support those theories is not known.
Over the years, the FBI, the CIA, the U.S. military, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been investigating the incidents. No one came to a conclusion, and the State Department quietly stopped using the word “attacks” to describe what happened, as then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other senior officials did in the early days after the incidents came to light. publicly in 2017.
Beginning in late 2016, US diplomats and other government workers stationed in Havana began hearing strange noises and experiencing bizarre physical sensations, and then became ill. The incidents caused hearing, balance and cognitive changes along with mild traumatic brain injury, also known as concussion.
More than a dozen U.S. workers serving in Cuba and a small number of Canadians have been confirmed to have been affected, along with a U.S. government worker in China who was estimated to have similar symptoms in 2018.
For some of the affected employees, those symptoms resolved and the individuals were eventually able to return to a relatively normal life. For others, the effects last and pose a permanent and significant obstacle to their work and well-being, according to NBC News interviews with US officials that the government estimates have been affected.
Cuba categorically and consistently denied any knowledge or involvement in the incidents. In late 2018, NBC News reported that U.S. intelligence agencies investigating the incidents considered Russia to be the prime suspect, based on interviews with three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation.
Some outside medical experts who were not involved in the investigation speculated that the workers may have suffered from mass hysteria. But doctors who evaluated patients at the University of Pennsylvania, including through advanced brain imaging, found differences in their brains, including less white matter and connectivity in areas that control vision and hearing than similar healthy people.
Asked in October about the investigation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was still no firm conclusion, although he referred to allegations made by many concerned diplomats that the State Department had not taken sufficient steps to protect and provide adequate care after injured.
“We did a lot of work to try to identify how it all happened,” Pompeo said. “And we continue to try and pinpoint the cause of this, doing our best to ensure that we care about the health and safety of these people.”
The report recommends that the State Department establish a mechanism for responding to similar incidents that enables faster and more efficient case studies.