Unidentified parties have in recent years been directing sonic attacks on U.S. officials on American soil. The attacks have also occurred in Cuba, China, and Russia. In spring 2018, American diplomats assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China (pictured) suffered brain injuries after being hit with microwaves or something similar. (Image source: iStock)
Unidentified parties have in recent years been directing sonic attacks on U.S. officials on American soil. One such attack even occurred on the grounds of the White House.
We should not be surprised. Failure to impose costs on known sonic attackers — the Cuban and Chinese regimes — almost certainly emboldened the perpetrators to think they could harm Americans in America.
Two attacks, both from American soil, have involved National Security Council officials, one on the White House's south lawn, the Ellipse, last November and another after Thanksgiving in 2019 in Arlington, Virginia.
The earlier attack involved a White House staffer walking her dog. The pet "started seizing up," and then she too suffered "a high-pitched ringing in her ears, an intense headache, and a tingling on the side of her face."
As many as 40 U.S. officials have been affected. "Many reported hearing a loud sound and feeling pressure in their heads, and then experienced dizziness, unsteady gait, and visual disturbances," NBC reported last December. "Many suffered longstanding, debilitating effects." A CIA officer ended up with "traumatic brain injury." Mike Beck, once a National Security Agency counterintelligence official, developed a rare form of Parkinson's as did his colleague working with him while on an assignment overseas.
The attacks have also occurred in Cuba, China, and Russia.
U.S. troops in Europe, the Middle East and South America have been targeted as well.
There are also unconfirmed reports of similar brain disorders of corporate employees. The disorders were suffered while the employees were in China, even on short-term visits.
The National Academy of Sciences this March concluded that "directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy" is the most probable cause of reported symptoms.
Some cases involving U.S. officials posted overseas go back decades, according to Newsmax.
American officials so far are flummoxed. Incidents of these sorts, in the words of Politico, are "difficult to track and attribute with confidence due to their nature." One reason is that these attacks, attributed to directed-energy devices, "can be small and portable." Moreover, "symptoms can appear similar to other illnesses."
All this is true. Nonetheless, American officials have no excuse, as there is virtually no question as to the identity of some of the attackers.
American diplomats in late 2016 were sonic-attacked in Cuba's capital city, showing symptoms — vertigo, ringing ears, nausea, memory loss, and other ailments — similar to those of the more recent cases. The incident is so well known that there is now a phrase for the effects of directed-energy attacks: Havana Syndrome.
Or perhaps one should call it the Guangzhou Disease. In spring 2018, American diplomats assigned to the consulate in that southern Chinese city suffered brain injuries after being hit with microwaves or something similar.
Beijing denied responsibility, but the Communist Party claims infallibility and runs a near-total surveillance state. How could anyone in China launch directed-energy waves without the authorities knowing about them? The Chinese regime had to be, in some manner, behind the incident.
The same could be said of attacks launched in Cuba's repressive state.
China's Communist Party has a doctrine of "unrestricted warfare," a phrase that comes from a 1999 book of that name by two Chinese air force colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. These "peacetime" directed-energy attacks fit that description.
Unfortunately, neither the Obama nor Trump administrations imposed costs on Cuba or China. With such direct attacks on the U.S. going unpunished, how could American enemies not now be tempted to use their new weapons on American soil?
At the moment, only individuals have been targeted. What, however, is to stop another escalation? "If we do nothing," Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center told Gatestone, "then China or Russia will deploy these devices for large-scale use on the eve of a major military conflict." Think of the possibilities. "Imagine microwave weapon trucks on the bluffs overlooking the Pentagon," Fisher, a leading China military expert, said.
Up to now, the CIA and State Department have been especially lax in trying to get to the bottom of the mysterious cases, but no unit in the federal government has made much progress.
That must change. Senator Susan Collins told CNN's Jake Tapper on May 2 that the U.S. needs a whole-of-government defense.
"This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing," wrote Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio, chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in a joint statement issued on April 30, referring to "medically confirmed cases of Traumatic Brain Injury."
The incidents are indeed "puzzling" as CNN correctly termed them at the end of last month, but Washington, as described above, should know who at least some of the culprits are. The real mystery is why the U.S. still has not done anything to protect its officials and citizens.
Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, a Gatestone Institute distinguished senior fellow, and a member of its Advisory Board.