The first public mention of the energy incidents occurred in 2016, when a group of US diplomats in Cuba as well as their families suddenly fell ill. Symptoms ranged from dizziness, hearing loss to loss of balance and “cognitive fog”. A study in the United States later revealed that the diplomats who had fallen ill had “brain abnormalities”.
Microwave “attacks” on US diplomats and members of intelligence agencies could have started back in the 1990s, The Guardian reported citing the case of Mike Beck. Beck, who worked at the National Security Agency until 2016, when he retired, was diagnosed with a rare non-tremor form of Parkinson’s in 2006.
In 1996, together with his colleague Charles Gubete he visited a country, which Beck said he is not allowed to reveal. Their task was to make sure a US diplomatic building under construction was not bugged. After discovering what Beck called “a technical threat to the equity we were there to protect” they received a message from a local translator that the country’s authorities knew what they did and it “was not a good thing”. The next day Beck woke up feeling bad.
“I was really, really groggy. I was not able to wake up routinely. It was not a normal event. I had several cups of coffee and that didn’t do a thing to get me going”, Beck told The Guardian.
The symptoms disappeared after Beck and his colleague returned to the United States. However, ten years later, at the age of 45, he suddenly became ill, with the right side of his body “freezing up”. Beck was limping and was unable to move his arm. After visiting a neurologist, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Shortly thereafter, he met Charles Gubete and learned that he too was diagnosed with the same form of Parkinson’s. “He was walking like an old man. He was slumped over and walking really awkwardly. I went up to him and said: ‘What’s going on?'”, Beck said.
“I’ve worked in counter-intelligence for the predominance of my career”, Beck said. “I thought this is not coincidental that we’re both presenting the same variant of Parkinson’s at the same time. This is not happenstance”.
US Officials Knew About Energy Incidents
Following his diagnosis, Beck started investigating the issue and in 2012 stumbled upon intelligence communications talking about a microwave weapon that could spark neurological ailments. By 2014, he had managed to declassify this message for his labour claim, but it was too late for his colleague. Gubete died of a suspected heart attack.
According to Beck and his lawyer, in 2016 the-then director of the Office of Security and Counterintelligence at the NSA sent an email to Liz Brooks, the NSA’s chief of staff supporting Beck’s account.
A declassified NSA statement on Beck’s work injury read as follows:
“The National Security Agency confirms that there is intelligence information from 2012 associating the hostile country to which Mr Beck travelled in the late 1990’s, with a high powered microwave system weapon that may have the ability to weaken, intimidate, or kill an enemy, over time, and without leaving evidence. The 2012 intelligence information indicated that this weapon is designed to bathe a target’s living quarters in microwaves, causing numerous physical effects, including a damaged nervous system”.
Other intelligence officers were less successful in their attempts to prove they were victims of microwaving “attacks”. According to Marc Polymeropoulos, a former senior officer with the CIA’s clandestine service, he and his colleagues waited three years until the agency’s bosses took their illnesses seriously.
“You make a pact when you join the Central Intelligence Agency – particularly in the operations side, the silent service. They asked me to do some really unusual and risky things over the years, in some pretty bad places but you always had a pact with your leadership that if you got jammed up, they would have your back”, he told The Guardian.
Polymeropoulos said he woke up with “an incredible case of vertigo” during a foreign visit. He had headaches 24/7 for three consecutive years as well as effects on his mental health.
“I was able to work for two hours every morning but then I’d be spent. Even having a conversation like this, I would be exhausted after that”, he said.
Government Report and Recent Incidents
Last December, a US government report revealed that a group of American diplomats and their relatives in Cuba fell ill after they were subjected to directed microwave radiation. The report fell short of attributing the blame for the “attacks”. A later examination of almost two dozens diplomats revealed that they had signs of concussions and other brain injuries.
Prior to the report, the United States accused Havana of carrying out “sonic attacks” on its diplomats, a claim Cuba denied. In the wake of the incident, several media outlets released a recording of what they said were sound attacks. However, later Alexander Stubbs of the University of California, Berkeley, and Fernando Montealegre-Z of the University of Lincoln in the UK revealed that the recording is the sound made by crickets.
On 29 April, CNN reported that US intelligence agencies had launched an investigation into two incidents that appear to be similar to the so-called “Havana syndrome”. The incidents occurred in 2019 and 2020. During one of them a White House official fell ill after walking her dog in a suburb in Washington, DC.
“Her dog started seizing up. Then she felt it too: a high-pitched ringing in her ears, an intense headache, and a tingling on the side of her face”, a source told CNN, adding that the incident occurred after the woman walked passed a van and a man got out and approached her.