Havana Syndrome Happening in US, Too: 60 Minutes

Former national security adviser John Bolton corroborates accounts of suspected victims
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2022 6:39 AM CST
60 Minutes : Havana Syndrome Is Happening in US, Too
Former national security adviser John Bolton in a file photo. He says he believes US officials on the White House grounds were targeted in 'deliberate' attacks.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, file)

(Newser) – The baffling ailment known as Havana syndrome has had a common denominator in reported cases: They occurred overseas. Now, however, 60 Minutes reports that several cases have been reported not just in Washington but at the White House itself. In Sunday night's segment, a number of national security officials describe being suddenly and inexplicably stricken. "It was like this piercing feeling on the side of my head, it was like, I remember it was on the right side of my head and I got like, vertigo," says Olivia Troye, who was homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Mike Pence. She worked in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and was on a set of stairs headed toward the White House when she first experienced the pattern and struggled to stay upright.

The incident might be considered a one-off, but it happened to her multiple times after that, and, more to the point, to several other US officials who spoke to CBS. Sometimes the cases occurred inside the White House gates, sometimes at their homes. Former national security adviser John Bolton, who does not describe being stricken himself, heard of enough cases first-hand that he sees evidence of a "deliberate attack." Pressed on that, he adds, "I don't think there's any other hypothesis when you begin to look at the number and the pattern that we've experienced." One unnamed security official says a Cabinet-level member of the Trump administration was among those stricken.

Miles Taylor, former Homeland Security chief of staff, says he believes he was the victim of two attacks at his apartment on Capitol Hill in 2018. "It was sort of a chirping, somewhere between what you would think is a cricket or sort of a digital sound," he says. "What was really strange about it is, I went to the window, opened up my window, looked down at the street. And keep in mind ... this is probably 3, 3:30 in the morning and I see a white van. And the van's brake lights turned on, and it pulled off and it sped away." He said it happened again about 5 weeks later, resulting in "concussion-like symptoms." CIA chief William Burns says the incidents are being investigated, but no evidence exists to "connect all the dots." Read the full story, which includes this audio recording made by a diplomat in Cuba. (Read more Havana syndrome stories.)

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