U.S. Senate intelligence leaders say mystery illness attacks increasing

U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Friday incidents similar to suspected "directed" radio frequency attacks on U.S. diplomats appear to be increasing and the committee was investigating.

In a statement, Senators Mark Warner, the committee's Democratic chairman, and Marco Rubio, its Republican vice chairman, said they have been aware for nearly five years of the mysterious attacks on U.S. government personnel in Havana, Cuba and elsewhere around the world.

"This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing. The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this," they said.

CNN on Thursday reported that U.S. agencies were investigating two possible incidents that appeared similar to illnesses that affected diplomats and are known as "Havana syndrome."

One last year was near the White House, CNN said, and another, previously reported by GQ magazine, sickened a White House official in a nearby Virginia suburb in 2019.

A U.S. government report in December said "directed" radio frequency was the most plausible explanation for the symptoms. In February, the State Department said an investigation was still ongoing.

On Thursday a White House spokeswoman said various departments of President Joe Biden's administration were working on the issue and still evaluating the situation.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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