The Defense Department is funding experiments on animals to determine if radio frequency waves could be the source of the mysterious ailment referred to as “Havana Syndrome” that has afflicted hundreds of U.S. government personnel in recent years, according to public documents and three people familiar with the effort.
This news of the ongoing animal testing, which has not previously been reported, comes after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined last week that there is no credible evidence that a foreign adversary wielding a weapon caused the health incidents. Despite the assessment, the Pentagon is continuing to examine that possibility, as POLITICO reported.
The Army in September awarded Wayne State University in Michigan a $750,000 grant to study the effects of radio frequency waves on ferrets, which have brains similar to humans, according to information on the grant posted on USASpending.gov. The aim is to determine whether this exposure induces similar symptoms to those experienced by U.S. government personnel in Havana, Cuba, and China, the documents show.
Symptoms have been described as severe headaches, temporary loss of hearing, vertigo and other problems similar to traumatic brain injury.
DoD has also recently tested pulsed radio frequency sources on primates to try to determine whether their effects can be linked to what the government calls “anomalous health incidents,” according to one former intelligence official and a current U.S. official who were briefed on the effort. Both were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive work. It is not clear whether these studies, which were done internally, are ongoing.
DoD spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman confirmed that the grant to Wayne State University, with collaborators from the University of Michigan, “will develop and test a novel laboratory animal model to mimic mild concussive head injury.”
“Behavioral, imaging, and histological studies will determine if the model is comparable to the abnormalities seen in humans following concussive head injury,” Gorman said, adding that: “The model may subsequently be used to test potential treatments to alleviate the deficits associated with traumatic brain injury.”
Gorman declined to comment on whether DoD has recently conducted these experiments on primates.