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Former Pentagon investigator says he believes Russia behind 'Havana syndrome' attacks

A former Defense Department investigator told CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that he believes Russia is behind the mysterious attacks on U.S. personnel across the world known as “Havana syndrome.”

Greg Edgreen, a retired Army colonel, told the network there was consistently a “Russia nexus” during his time running the investigation into Havana syndrome, including from a very early period of the investigation.

Edgreen’s claims contradict findings from intelligence officials who concluded last year with varying degrees of confidence that there was no evidence a foreign adversary was behind the mysterious attacks on U.S. personnel.

The National Institutes of Health also said last month there was no evidence of brain injuries or abnormalities in the brains of victims of the incidents.

Still, victims of the attacks, who range from diplomats to intelligence officials in the U.S. government, largely dispute the official claims and say the investigation is still shrouded in secrecy.

Proponents of an adversary behind the incidents speculate the incidents could be the work of an ultrasonic weapon.

Initial intelligence community reports before the 2023 report said they could be the result of a directed energy weapon or microwave beam. The National Academies of Sciences also reached a similar conclusion, and a panel of experts who provided a report last year to the director of national intelligence concluded they may be the result of an electromagnetic weapon.

The mysterious attacks, now called anomalous health incidents (AHI), have affected more than 1,000 U.S. employees across the globe, who have reported everything from vertigo, insomnia, nausea and intense headaches.

The cases were first called “Havana syndrome” because the first known reports came from U.S. and Canadian embassy officials in the Cuban capital in 2016.

A Russian intelligence unit known as 29155 may be behind the attacks, according to the “60 Minutes” report broadcast late Sunday, a joint investigation between the CBS News program, The Insider and Der Spiegel.

Christo Grozev, a journalist with The Insider, an investigative magazine run by Russian exiles, found a receipt for a Russian official in the unit to work on “non-lethal acoustic weapons,” and the unit was active in Tbilisi, Georgia, when U.S. officials were harmed there.

Mark Zaid, an attorney for some of the victims, said most if not all of his clients were “doing something relating to Russia” when they were attacked, and he suggested the U.S. intelligence community may be covering up the Russian links.

“Now, some of that cover up is not necessarily that, ‘oh, we found a weapon,’” Zaid told CBS. “What I’ve seen more so is, ‘we see lines of inquiry that would take us potentially to answers we don’t want to have to deal with, so we’re not going to explore any of those avenues.’”

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