News & Politics

The Mystery Continues as CIA Chief in Vienna Recalled Due to 'Insufficient Response' to Havana Syndrome

The CIA’s station chief in Vienna, Austria, is being recalled for what some in the agency are calling an “insufficient response” to victims of the Havana Syndrome.

The mysterious affliction has struck the Vienna embassy in recent weeks, leading to several U.S. government employees and some family members coming down with symptoms.

The disease is named after the outbreak in Havana, Cuba, in 2016. A National Academy of Sciences study concluded that the symptoms of the disease — headaches, nausea, weakness, loss of memory, and other brain functions — were caused by some kind of “directed energy weapon,” possibly microwaves.

Other incidents — some refer to them as “attacks” — have occurred in China, Russia, and the United States.

In addition to the CIA’s station chief, another State Department official who oversaw the government response to Havana Syndrome cases was let go for being insufficiently sympathetic to victims.

Washington Post:

The department said Ambassador Pamela Spratlen was exiting because she had “reached the threshold of hours of labor” permitted under her status as a retiree. But she faced calls for her resignation after a teleconference with victims who had asked a question about an FBI study that determined the illnesses had a psychological origin rather than a physical one.

Spratlen declined to say if she believed the FBI study was accurate or not, angering victims who believe their symptoms are the result of an attack, possibly with microwaves or some form of directed energy. NBC News first reported the exchange. The FBI declined to comment.

The Post reports that “[d]espite four years of investigations across multiple administrations, the U.S. government has so far been unable to determine a cause.” That’s where the “mass psychogenic illness” theory comes in. It has emerged as the leading alternative theory to the directed energy weapon attack. The author of a book on Havana Syndrome, Robert E. Bartholomew, believes the original investigation by the CIA was totally botched and that the State Department report failed to study the possibility of a mass psychogenic incident.

Related: CIA Director Says 100 Agents Sickened by ‘Havana Syndrome’

Besides, experts in microwave radiation think it’s ludicrous to blame the symptoms on any kind of directed energy attack.

Skeptic magazine:

The idea that someone could beam huge amounts of microwave energy at people and not have it be obvious defies credibility.”The former head of the Electromagnetics division of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ric Tell, also views the microwave link as science fiction. Tell spent decades working on standards for safe exposure to electromagnetic radiation, including microwaves. “If a guy is standing in front of a high-powered radio antenna — and it’s got to be high, really high — then he could experience his body getting warmer,” Tell said. “But to cause brain-tissue damage, you would have to impart enough energy to heat it up to the point where it’s cooking. I don’t know how you could do that, especially if you were trying to transmit through a wall. It’s just not plausible,” he said.

But the victims are not accepting the psychological explanation for the attack, and that’s what’s driving the investigation at this point.

There have been more than 200 reported cases around the world, leading some in the government medical community to question how the source of the “attacks” could possibly be a secret weapon being wielded by an enemy. It’s a mystery that so far has eluded explanation or solution.