United States – The department confirmed Monday that a newly appointed senior defense department official who was also in Lithuania for last year’s NATO summit in Vilnius was among the US officials who were exposed to the phenomenon called the “Havana syndrome.”

Uncovering the Mysterious

Investigation of Havana syndrome is still pending, but it includes a string of health problems starting from 2016, when embassy representatives in Havana reported sudden and unexplained head pressure, headaches or ear pain or dizziness.

Suspicions of Foreign Involvement Rise

It was the result of the “60 Minutes” report, which aired on Sunday, that led to a suspected involvement of Russia in several cases of injuries incurred by U.S. government officials, including their families, during the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius.

“I can confirm that a senior DOD official experienced symptoms similar to those reported in anomalous health incidents,” US press deputy secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters on Monday. Singh sidestepped questions from the reporters who queried about Russia’s possible role. This inquiry is still ongoing, and the espionage community is now looking into it.

Response and Ongoing Investigations

With the official excluded from the list of travelers going to Vilnius along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Singh confirmed that that person was not part of his traveling party. However, he was “separately attending meetings that were part of the NATO summit.”

Singh, however, did not disclose if the affected individual was required to seek further medical attention, retire, or cease his or her duties for any reason. The official cited privacy concerns.

Contradictory Assessments and Medical Studies

In the meantime, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in its annual 2024 threat assessment report, stated that it was “unlikely” a foreign adversary was eliminating the mysterious ailments. However, it also noted the conflicting intelligence agency evaluations of this finding, as reported by The Associated Press.

The Department of Defense has also established a reporting system through which employees/ dependents may submit an episode. Yet, in March, the National Institutes of Health announced a five-year study in which American diplomats and state employees with the symptoms of Havana syndrome showed no signs of brain injury and degeneration.