MYSTERY WIRE — Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby says the Defense Department is investigating reports that some of its troops have suffered symptoms consistent with being exposed to directed energy, commonly called “Havana Syndrome.”
“We continue to get reports and we continue to investigate them,” Kirby said Friday.
“I couldn’t give you a number today, but there have been there have been additional claims of those kinds of phenomena over recent months,” he said.
The symptoms are often referred to as Havana syndrome because of a well-known series of cases affecting personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba beginning in 2016. The U.S. has not publicly linked the incidents to an adversary.
New reports of possible Havana syndrome cases continue to emerge both in the U.S. and abroad, including two unconfirmed incidents in the U.S. this month and a series of incidents affecting U.S. personnel in Germany several weeks prior, according to James Giordano, the executive director of the Institute for Biodefense Research in Washington
During Friday’s briefing at the Pentagon, Kirby also said the Defense Department is preparing in advance of a possible government shutdown given that House and Senate lawmakers remain at a standstill over a separate package to keep the government funded past the Sept. 30 fiscal year-end and to suspend the federal debt limit.
Senate Republicans are refusing to back a House-passed bill, despite the risk of triggering a fiscal crisis.
“As you have seen in past shutdowns, people have continued, particularly our troops, have continued to get paid,” he said.
“And I wouldn’t expect that there would be any change to that going forward.”
Finally, Kirby said that in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the military’s reliance on “over the horizon” capabilities, the Pentagon does not require approval from the Taliban-controlled government to carry out an airstrike there.
“There is currently no requirement to clear airspace with the Taliban, and we do not expect that any future over the horizon counterterrorism strikes would hinge on such a clearance,” he said.