Russia

Mysterious Attacks On Diplomats, CIA Officers Never Stopped

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

One of President Obama's final achievements in office was taking a big step toward normalizing relations with Cuba by discarding decades of Cold War-era dogma that hasn't been applicable in a very long time; since before Generation Z -- kids who are about 20 years old today -- were even born.

But that was also one of the first components of President Obama's legacy that Trump successfully rolled back with a helping hand from unidentified foreign assailants who carried out explained attacks on diplomats, their families, and CIA officers.

Because the story was so bizarre, you may recall that diplomats and CIA officers stationed in Cuba and later China were attacked through unexplained means in events originally described as "sonic attacks" because the victims reported hearing loud noises directed at their heads. Further study revealed that the attacks didn't involve sound waves, but they were definitely hit with something we still can't fully explain.

In any case, the Trump regime used those attacks as an excuse to undo what President Obama had done by pulling back out of Cuba and re-imposing strict controls on travel and business. There was no evidence that the Cuban government was responsible for the attacks, but that evidently didn't matter to Trump who gladly accepts any opportunity to diminish President Obama's accomplishments.

The Trump regime later used similar attacks in China to make similar arguments against cooperation with the Chinese government and those were the last attacks we heard of, but they weren't the last; they continued.

The New York Times reports that additional attacks that left victims incapacitated and sometimes with side effects that persist to this day have continued in recent years, but the Trump regime has apparently kept a tight lid on them.

[Similar] episodes have been reported by senior C.I.A. officers who visited the agency’s stations overseas, according to three current and former officials and others familiar with the events.

That includes Moscow, where Marc Polymeropoulos, a C.I.A. officer who helped run clandestine operations in Russia and Europe, experienced what he believes was an attack in December 2017. Mr. Polymeropoulos, who was 48 at the time, suffered severe vertigo in his hotel room in Moscow and later developed debilitating migraine headaches that forced him to retire.

The cases involving C.I.A. officers, none of which have been publicly reported, are adding to suspicions that Russia carried out the attacks worldwide. Some senior Russia analysts in the C.I.A., officials at the State Department and outside scientists, as well as several of the victims, see Russia as the most likely culprit given its history with weapons that cause brain injuries and its interest in fracturing Washington’s relations with Beijing and Havana.

The C.I.A. director remains unconvinced, and State Department leaders say they have not settled on a cause.

Critics say disparities in how the officers were treated stemmed from diplomatic and political considerations, including the president’s desire to strengthen relations with Russia and win a trade deal with China.

These weren't just random CIA grunts according to GQ which published a very detailed and extensive look inside this phenomenon yesterday, and these attacks weren't limited to Cuba, China, or Moscow. The attacks have targeted some of the highest ranking CIA officers in other parts of the world, but they've also targeted comparatively irrelevant people right here inside the United States.

You should take time to read the full story for yourself (it's very long) but this has clearly happened far more times that we knew about and hit dangerously close to home for some people reading this.

One senior intelligence officer in EEMC, the Center Polymeropoulos used to run, had gotten hit twice while traveling under cover, first in Poland in the spring of 2019, then again in Tbilisi, Georgia, that fall. He, too, was diagnosed with occipital neuralgia and experienced symptoms similar to Polymeropoulos’s. (He declined to be interviewed for this article.)

According to these sources, the attacks were becoming increasingly daring: One of the CIA officials hit in Australia and Taiwan was among the agency’s five highest-ranking officials.

Whoever was behind the attacks also began going after Americans on American soil. An American diplomat and his spouse, who had been hit when they were stationed in China, traveled to Philadelphia to get specialized treatment at the University of Pennsylvania. One night in June 2018, according to three government sources, the couple was startled awake by a sound and pressure in their heads similar to what they had felt back in China. On the advice of FBI agents, the family moved to a hotel, but on their second night there, they were again awoken in the early morning hours. Terrified, the parents ran into the room where their children were sleeping to find them moving in their sleep, bizarrely and in unison. In the weeks afterward, the children developed vision and balance difficulties. The family members, whose identities GQ is not revealing for privacy reasons, declined to be interviewed for this story. “I can’t say anything about that,” says attorney Janine Brookner, who represents the family.

Then, shortly after Thanksgiving 2019, according to three sources familiar with the incident, a White House staffer was hit while walking her dog in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. According to a government source familiar with the incident, the staffer passed a parked van. A man got out and walked past her. Her dog started seizing up. Then she felt it too: a high-pitched ringing in her ears, an intense headache, and a tingling on the side of her face.

According to the source, this had happened to the staffer before. In August 2019, she had accompanied John Bolton, who was then the national security adviser, on a trip to London. The staffer, whom GQ is not identifying out of concerns for her privacy, did not respond to requests for comment. According to the government source, she was in her hotel room when she suddenly felt a tingling in the side of her head that was facing the window. The intense pressure in her head was accompanied by a tinning in her ears. When she left the room, the symptoms stopped. She reported the incident to the Secret Service because it was uncannily similar to the symptoms described by American diplomats who had served in Cuba and China.

The matter of who is behind this doesn't seem like much of a mystery.

I would tell you Russia is behind it, but what do I know? I don't know anything, but some of the highest ranking officers in the CIA also say Russia is behind it. You can take their word for it.

That's not the mystery; the real mystery is why the Trump regime is downplaying the attacks even within their own ranks and refusing to publicly confront Russia for carrying them out. There's nothing unusual about Trump refusing to point a finger at Russia and his greatest benefactor, Vladimir Putin, but I would like to know if the White House directly told CIA Director Gina Haspel to stand down.

Has Trump allowed Russia to physically attack American citizens on American soil for political reasons? For personal financial reasons? He let them digitally attack us and even invited them to do so, so the next step isn't a stretch.

The only way we may receive answers to these questions is by voting Trump out of office.

  • Christopher Foxx

    “the real mystery is why the Trump regime is downplaying the attacks even within their own ranks and refusing to publicly confront Russia for carrying them out.”

    That’s not a mystery at all.

  • muselet

    There’s no mystery as to why the Trump administration has downplayed Russian attacks, and no, it’s not (necessarily) because of whatever компрома́т the GRU has on him. Donald Trump would be letting Russia do whatever it wanted, regardless.

    Trump admires Vladimir Putin. Putin is who Trump desperately wants to be when he grows up. You just know Trump spends hours in front of a full-length mirror, trying to mimic Putin’s weird, KGB field operative’s sideways walk.

    Well, plus Trump may be convinced Putin won’t honor an extradition request with his name on it.

    –alopecia