The Pentagon investigates allegations of Russia’s directed energy attack on US troops

The Pentagon has explained to top lawmakers information surrounding the alleged directed-energy attack on the U.S. military, and authorities have identified Russia as a possible criminal, according to two people who are directly aware of the matter.

The Pentagon has been investigating cases since last year, including cases involving personnel around the world, according to four former national security officials who were directly involved in the investigation.

Pentagon officials notified at least two major parliamentary groups earlier this year about the investigation in writing and face-to-face. POLITICO spoke with parliamentary officials who were briefed on the alleged attack as part of the Pentagon’s oversight obligations.

People said the briefing contained information about the injuries suffered by US troops in Syria. The investigation included one case in which several troops developed flu-like symptoms in Syria in the fall of 2020, two people familiar with the Pentagon’s investigation said. However, a Pentagon spokesperson said the ministry was unaware of a directed-energy attack on the US military in Syria. The spokesman declined to comment further on the Pentagon’s interaction with Capitol Hill and internal investigations.

The Pentagon’s special operations and low-intensity conflict office began investigating the alleged directed-energy attack on Americans abroad by Russia, according to two former national security officials involved in the effort. I became concerned about that. The exact number of injured troops, or the extent of their injuries, is unknown.

A spokesperson for the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

The investigation is part of an extensive effort in recent years to investigate directed energy attacks on US authorities across multiple agencies. Since late 2016, nearly 50 officials have reported symptoms of a mysterious illness that has become known as “Havana Syndrome” among US diplomats stationed in Cuba. Symptoms included acute ringing and ear compressions, hearing and imbalance, malaise, and residual headache. Some victims suffer from long-term brain damage.

Directed-energy attacks on US spies and diplomats are well documented. Recent CIA setup A unique task force for investigating problems. However, recent Pentagon efforts to investigate similar incidents affecting the US military have not been reported so far.

The circumstances surrounding these cases are uncertain, and US authorities face difficulties in attributed suspicious attacks to specific weapons or countries.

Directed-energy attacks use high-power radio frequencies or high-concentration electromagnetic energy, such as microwave devices and particle beams, to harm a target. Attacks can take many forms, from disturbing electronic devices to causing pain and permanent injuries.

A report Commissioned by the State Department and announced in December, it pointed to “directional pulsed high-frequency energy” as the most probable cause of the “Havana Syndrome” case.

President Joe Biden already Overlooking the increasingly aggressive MoscowLast week, it moved to impose second-round sanctions on cyberattacks and interference with the US presidential election.Sanctions for that round In particular, we have excluded efforts to suspend major Russian pipeline projects, And it came when a historic number of Russian troops were gathering on the border with Ukraine.

The investigation has led to a larger debate involving the National Security Council, the CIA, the State Department, and the Director of National Intelligence, three former national security officials involved in the debate said.

According to two people who are directly aware of the issue, a member of the House of Representatives, known as the gang of eight, a top-secret intelligence agency, suspects Russia has used directed energy to target Americans in Syria. I was informed. People said the Senate Military Committee was also briefed.

Parliamentary officials who were briefed on the case believe that the Pentagon believes that the nature of directed-energy attacks is similar to that carried out against Americans in Cuba, but draws direct similarities. He said he hesitated.

Senator Jim Inhof, a top Republican member of the Armed Services Commission, told POLITICO that he was waiting for more information on the issue.

“We know that we will discuss and explain it informally. Frankly, it will be kept secret,” he said in a short interview. “Let’s wait and see.”

Inhalf refused to elaborate on future discussions, but US Central Command General Kenneth “Frank” Mackenzie will testify in front of his committee Thursday.

Senator Marco Rubio (Republican), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a member of the Gang of Eight, has expressed concern about Russia’s invasion in the Middle East.

“I think it’s a question that needs an answer,” Rubio said in an interview. “And beyond that, we’ve all seen some of these attacks on diplomatic facilities. I don’t want to link the two, but again, comment on either. You can not.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), A member of the Armed Services Commission, refused to confirm details about the briefing on directed energy use in Syria.

“I think Americans need to know more about the many topics we have described in the classified setting and deserve it,” he added.

The alleged attack prompted a Pentagon investigation, where officials began to believe Russia was responsible for the attack. However, formal attribution can be complicated by the many other possible causes of directed energy-related injury symptoms. Another big challenge is that authorities can’t always track devices. The device may be small and portable.

Former national security officials told POLITICO that, in one case, directed energy might have injured Syrian Marines. However, the Pentagon’s investigation later concluded that the symptoms of Marines were the result of food poisoning.

Professor Geoffrey Lewis, who focuses on Middlebury Institute technology and national security, said the topic could be a nuisance in terms of intelligence.

“I think I saw the problem at the Cuban embassy, ​​but to be honest, there are many stories of these stories over the years, but unless there are weapons and technical means, why do people get sick? It’s very difficult to know if you are. Knowing if a particular beam is focused on a particular location, “he said.

“We still don’t know what’s going on at the Cuban embassy,” he added. “They have been reporting all those symptoms for years, and the question is whether they are targeted. Is this some eavesdropping device affecting them? I just don’t know. “

However, a public statement on this topic from the US government will also raise skepticism. Phil Coil, a former director of the Department of Defense’s Department of Operational Testing and Evaluation, cautioned.

“To me, that seems tremendous. It’s much harder than killing American soldiers with bombs and bullets,” Coil said. “Of course, the advantage of some fictitious weapons is that they have no attribution. No one knows the situation you are explaining in Syria. What we know is that these soldiers I can’t blame the Russians because I don’t know if it’s food poisoning or something else made them sick. And of course, that’s … one of the Cuban problems It was a club. “