Possible Havana syndrome case delays Harris trip to Vietnam

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By ALEXANDRA JAFFE and JONATHAN LEMIRE

HANOI (AP) — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ travel from Singapore to Vietnam was delayed respective hours Tuesday by an probe into 2 imaginable cases of the alleged Havana Syndrome successful Hanoi, medication officials said.

The probe was successful its aboriginal stages and officials deemed it harmless for Harris to marque her scheduled halt successful Vietnam, which is portion of her travel crossed Asia meant to reassure allies astir American overseas argumentation amid the tumultuous evacuation of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The Havana Syndrome is the sanction for a rash of mysterious wellness incidents archetypal reported by American diplomats and different authorities employees successful the Cuba superior opening successful 2016.

U.S. officials “take immoderate reported incidental of Havana syndrome seriously,” property caput Jen Psaki said astatine a White House property briefing aboriginal Tuesday.

U.S. officials had not yet confirmed the latest reported case, and it did not impact anyone traveling with Harris, Psaki said. In airy of the reports, “there was an appraisal done of the information of the vice president, and determination was a determination made that she could proceed question on with her staff,” Psaki said.

There person been 2 abstracted cases of unexplained wellness incidents reported by U.S. unit successful Vietnam wrong the past week, the officials said. It was not instantly wide who was impacted by the syndrome, though officials said it was not idiosyncratic who worked for the vice president oregon the White House, according to the officials, who were not authorized to talk publically astir an ongoing investigation.

The U.S. Embassy successful Hanoi issued a connection saying the hold was due to the fact that Harris’ bureau learned astir a study of a “recent imaginable anomalous wellness incident” successful the Vietnamese capital. The embassy provided nary details, but said Harris’ bureau decided to question to Hanoi “after cautious assessment.”

The U.S. authorities uses “anomalous wellness incident” to picture the syndrome. Some of those impacted study proceeding a large piercing dependable and feeling aggravated unit successful the face. Pain, nausea, and dizziness sometimes followed.

Similar, unexplained wellness ailments person since been reported by Americans serving successful different countries, including Germany, Austria, Russia and China. A assortment of theories person been floated to explicate the incidents, including targeted microwaves oregon sonic attack, possibly arsenic portion of an espionage oregon hacking effort.

Particularly alarming are revelations of astatine slightest 2 imaginable incidents successful the Washington area, including 1 lawsuit adjacent the White House successful November successful which an authoritative reported dizziness. Administration officials person speculated that Russia whitethorn beryllium involved, a proposition Moscow has denied.

Harris was acceptable to depart for Hanoi connected Tuesday evening aft delivering a code successful Singapore, castigating China for its incursions into the South China Sea, and a treatment of proviso concatenation issues with concern leaders.

But the formation was delayed for much than 3 hours and Symone Sanders, Harris’ main spokesperson, refused to explain. Unprompted, Sanders volunteered that Harris was “well” though reporters had seen the vice president respective times Tuesday and had nary crushed to beryllium acrophobic astir her health.

Congress has raised alarms implicit specified attacks, uncovering uncommon bipartisan enactment successful House and Senate for continued government-wide probe into the syndrome, effect arsenic good arsenic millions successful enactment for American unit aesculapian monitoring and treatment.

The Biden medication is facing caller unit to resoluteness the enigma arsenic the fig of reported cases of imaginable onslaught has sharply grown. But scientists and authorities officials aren’t yet definite astir who mightiness person been down immoderate attacks, if the symptoms could person been caused inadvertently by surveillance instrumentality — oregon if the incidents were really attacks.

Whatever an authoritative reappraisal concludes could person tremendous consequences. Confirmation that a U.S. adversary has been conducting damaging attacks against U.S. unit would unleash calls for a forceful effect by the United States.

For now, the medication is providing assurances that it takes the substance seriously, is investigating aggressively and volition marque definite those affected person bully aesculapian care.

One cardinal investigation identified “directed, pulsed vigor frequence energy” arsenic the astir plausible culprit. Published successful December by the National Academy of Sciences, the study said a vigor frequence onslaught could change encephalon relation without causing “gross structural damage.” But the sheet could not marque a definitive uncovering connected however U.S. unit whitethorn person been hit.

And a declassified 2018 State Department study cited “a deficiency of elder leadership, ineffective communications, and systemic disorganization” successful responding to the Havana cases. The study says the origin of the injuries was “currently unknown.” The papers was published by George Washington University’s National Security Archive.

Chris Miller, the acting defence caput during the past months of the Trump administration, created a Pentagon squad to analyse the suspected attacks. That was aft helium met a worker precocious past twelvemonth who described how, portion serving successful a state Miller wouldn’t identify, helium had heard a “shrieking” dependable and past had a splitting headache.

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Lemire reported from Lowell, Mass. Additional reporting contributed by Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Lisa Mascaro successful Washington

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