US investigating mysterious 'energy attacks' near White House

The Ellipse, the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House - REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The Ellipse, the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House - REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The US government is investigating possible "energy attacks" perpetrated on home soil after White House and National Security Council officials complained of debilitating symptoms similar to ones reported by diplomats in Cuba, Russia and China.

The Department of Defence and other federal agencies have launched a probe and briefed politicians after being notified of an incident near the White House, CNN reported.

The mysterious episodes first took place in Cuba, in 2016, when diplomats and other embassy staff complained of ear popping, vertigo, pounding headaches and nausea, sometimes accompanied by an unidentified "piercing directional noise."

The cause of the symptoms has not yet been established, although State Department officials have previously referred to a “sonic attack” and “directional phenomena”.

The illness was dubbed "Havana syndrome" and prompted the US to more than halve its numbers at the mission in 2017. Similar events took place in Russia and China in 2017 and 2018.

US Embassy, Havana, Cuba - YAMIL LAGE / AFP
US Embassy, Havana, Cuba - YAMIL LAGE / AFP

Now, there is concern that the “attacks” are taking place in America.

One incident occurred near the Ellipse, the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House, causing a National Security Council official to become unwell at the end of last year, CNN reported.

Defence officials who briefed lawmakers said it was possible Russia was behind the attacks, but it is understood that China is also among the suspects.

There is still no consensus on what has caused dozens of officials to suffer these symptoms.

One State Department-sponsored study found they likely were the result of microwave energy attacks.

Another study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the brains of staff members affected had shrunk by five per cent following the incidents.

A White House spokesperson said in a statement: "The White House is working closely with departments and agencies to address unexplained health incidents and ensure the safety and security of Americans serving around the world.

“Given that we are still evaluating reported incidents and that we need to protect the privacy of individuals reporting incidents, we cannot provide or confirm specific details at this time."

The Pentagon was also contacted for comment.