A CIA officer who was forced to take early retirement after suffering from ‘Havana Syndrome’ feared to have been caused by a secret Russian microwave weapon claims the condition is an ‘act of war’ against the US.
Marc Polymeropolous claims he was zapped with the frequency while visiting a Moscow hotel room back in 2017, and blames it for destroying his career, as well as debilitating headaches he continues to suffer from this day.
Recalling that trip, he said: ‘Even in my hotel room, I’d go to the gym, and a guy in a black trench coat comes down and, you know, checks on me down there,’ he told CBS News’ Catherine Herridge. ‘Not unexpected. Part of the job.’
‘I woke up in the middle of the night, because I had this incredible case of vertigo. It felt almost as if I was in some kind of carnival ride. And I’ll tell you, Catherine, I had spent years in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.’
‘I put my life on the line. This was the most terrifying experience of my life. I had no control.’
Former CIA officer Marc Polymeropolous was on assignment in Moscow in 2017 when he noticed he was being watched by ‘guys in black trench coats’
‘I had spent years in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. I put my life on the line. This was the most terrifying experience of my life. I had no control’ he said
The Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran believes that the ‘Havana Syndrome’ is an ‘act of war against the US,’ after experiencing it for himself.
Polymeropolous went to a CIA medical office upon returning stateside, where he was surprised to hear doctors say that his ailments were not caused by the controversial sonic weaponry, of which no known photographs exist.
‘I said, “Is this consistent with Havana Syndrome?” And their answer was no.’
‘I’ve had a headache for three years,’ he said. ‘It feels like a vice clamp down here. And there’s pressure that comes over the top of my head.’
After three years, he finally received the diagnosis he believed he had all along at the Walter Reed military hospital.
‘They diagnosed me with a traumatic brain injury. It’s on paper. I have it.’
Polymeropolous’s CIA colleague was also affected by the controversial syndrome, saying ‘this is the invisible wound that, you know, no one believed us for a long time.’
He says he was forced to stand down after the condition left him unable to concentrate for longer than a few hours at a time.
The weapon believed to cause Havana Syndrome is said to be a smaller version of this 1990s Soviet microwave generator, which is kept at the University of New Mexico
The former CIA officer was forced into retirement after suffering from the mysterious and debilitating ‘Havana Syndrome’ while on assignment in Russia
The Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran says the symptoms still persist to this day, with a military hospital diagnosing him with a traumatic brain injury
‘Havana Syndrome’ is described as a mysterious neurological condition which was first brought to the State Department’s attention five years ago in Cuba.
There have been at least 130 suspected cases of the mysterious illness as of this year, according to CBS News, with many occurring near Russian facilities.
Two cases were detected close to the White House in recent months, with the US government now fast-tracking sensor technology to try and identify the microwave technology and track it down.
Senate support has also been agreed for victims suffering from Havana Syndrome.
‘This is clearly an escalation,’ Republican Senator Susan Collins said. Collins had authored legislation to help victims of the ‘Havana Syndrome’ with medical and financial support.
‘This bill will provide much-needed assistance to the employees of the intelligence community, the State Department, and other federal agencies.’
Although the syndrome may have first been noted by US and Canadian embassy staff in the island nation of Cuba, Collins believes the culprit in Polymeropolous’ case is very clearly Russia.
‘Russia is certainly a likely suspect,’ Collins added. ‘President Biden should send an unmistakable message to the Russians that if they are behind these attacks, they must stop them immediately. We have to have full cooperation from the Russians, or they must be made to pay a price.’
‘Who feels safe to serve now overseas with this happening?’ Polymeropolous questioned. ‘My contention is that it’s the Russians. But whatever adversary is doing this certainly has not seen anything from the U.S. government that’s telling them to stop.’
Polymeropolous is currently writing a book about his 30-plus year career at the CIA, titled ‘Clarity in Crisis,’ which he says has been cathartic.
Meanwhile, a State Department spokesperson told the news outlet that ‘Secretary Blinken has made clear that there is no higher priority than the health and safety of our workforce.’
‘At this time, we do not know the cause of these incidents, which are both limited in nature and the vast majority of which have been reported overseas. We also do not know whether they constitute an attack of some kind by a foreign actor, but these are areas of active inquiry.’
‘Nothing is more important than taking care of CIA officers – both by ensuring that they get the care and treatment they deserve, and making sure that we get to the bottom of what caused these incidents,’ CIA director of public affairs Tammy Thorp told CBS News.