Members of the House Armed Service Committee were encouraged to attend a closed-door hearing to be briefed on a new threat.

Defense Under-Secretaries Jennifer C. Walsh (Defense Policy), and Griffin Decker (Research) explained that the “Havana Syndrome”, wrongly attributed to the Cubans, is an injury caused by a new weapon which the United States does not have in its military arsenal.

It is reportedly a “directed energy” weapon, probably developed by Russia or possibly China, which has already been deployed against US troops in Latin America and the wider Middle East. It causes hearing and balance disorders, as well as severe headaches. Symptoms can persist for several months and deprive troops of their reflexes. According to the aforementioned officials, an increasing number of attacks with this weapon have been recorded against US personnel around the world. They expose all US personnel to grave danger.

The first attack took place in 2017, in the embassies of the United States and Canada in Havana, giving its name to the syndrome it brings about.

However, contradicting Pentagon officials, CentCom chief General Frank McKenzie later said he was unaware of any such attacks happening in the wider Middle East.

"Exclusive : U.S. troops increasingly vulnerable to directed-energy attacks, Pentagon tells lawmakers", Lara Seligman & Andrew Desiderio & Betsy Woodruff, Politico & South China Morning Post, April 22, 2021.