Joe Biden abruptly ends Q&A session with reporters
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Staff at the Pentagon have launched a probe into at least two incidents in Washington DC. The incidents have reportedly seen people struck down by an invisible illness and bear some similarities to a destabilising condition suffered by US troops abroad.
The first incident of concern is believed to have taken place in November 2020 at The Ellipse – a 52-acre park to the south of the White House, CNN reports.
One National Security Council official is said to have suddenly fallen ill.
A White House official reported a similar incident while walking her dog in a Virginia suburb, just outside of the capital.
Senate and House Armed Services Committees were informed of the matter earlier this month.
Officials remain perplexed and are unable to draw definitive conclusions as to what might have happened, sources say.
But staff are said to be alarmed at the proximity of the incidents to the home of the US President.
CIA and defence staff are understood to be drawing possible comparisons to a mysterious “Havana syndrome” attack, experienced by members of the military on duty overseas.
The name derives from the first-ever reported attack in 2016 in Cuba.
Staff at the US embassy began experiencing a range of worrying symptoms, including headaches, earache and loss of balance.
Some even suffered a loss of memory and long-term brain damage.
Similar symptoms have since been reported by CIA officials on duty in other countries around the world – including China, Russia and Syria.
A total of 50 US officials have been fallen sick from a suspected direct-energy attack, since 2016.
A direct-energy attack typically uses highly concentrated electromagnetic energy, including high-powered radio frequency and particle beams to harm a target.
Depending on the frequency, the effects can range from jamming electrical equipment to causing pain to human body and permanent injuries.
In December 2020, a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said the most likely origin of the illness was “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy”.
Pentagon officials set up a taskforce to investigate “Havana syndrome” towards the end of Donald Trump’s time in office.
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The investigation remains ongoing.
In a statement, the Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told CNN: “There is nothing that the Secretary of Defense takes more seriously than the safety, health and welfare of our personnel serving around the globe in defence of our values and freedoms.
“Any concerns on issues that call that into question are thoroughly reviewed, and the appropriate actions are taken to mitigate risks to our personnel.”
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