May 12, 2021
Politico reported on May 10, “U.S. officials suspect that a notorious Russian spy agency may be behind alleged attacks that are causing mysterious health issues among U.S. government personnel across the world, according to three current and former officials with direct knowledge of the discussions.
Officials do not have a smoking gun linking Russia’s military intelligence unit, the GRU, to the suspected directed-energy incidents, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. The intelligence community has not reached a consensus or made a formal determination. However, officials have told lawmakers that they have intensified their investigation in recent weeks to include all 18 federal intelligence agencies, and that it is focused on the GRU’s potential involvement, according to a congressional official briefed on the matter.
A White House spokesperson, who requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue, emphasized that investigators do not yet know the cause of these incidents or whether they constitute an attack by foreign actors. However, the spokesperson said, these are areas of ‘active inquiry,’ and the National Security Council is working with other agencies to address the ‘unexplained health incidents.’
Victims of the suspected attacks report symptoms consistent with the ‘Havana syndrome’ incidents of 2016, in which a number of American spies and diplomats experienced residual headaches, loss of balance and hearing, ringing and pressure in the ears, and sometimes long-term brain damage.
The GRU’s inclusion as a suspect in the investigation, which has not been previously reported, comes as Biden administration officials are working to reassure outraged lawmakers that they are committed to getting to the bottom of the issue and holding those responsible to account.
The GRU is well-known for its involvement in Russia’s covert operations around the world, including Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and numerous cyberattacks across the West. The U.S. has already found the GRU to be responsible for interfering in the 2016 and 2018 elections through the use of cyberattacks and other means.
The group has a known footprint in each of the locations where the suspected incidents occurred, including in the US, and is the only agency within the Russian government that has the technology to pull off such attacks, the people said.”