VP Harris' trip to Vietnam was delayed by a possible case of Havana Syndrome

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Vice President Kamala Harris trip to Vietnam was delayed by a few hours because of a report of a possible case of Havana Syndrome in Hanoi.

The flight was delayed for more than three hours and Symone Sanders, Harris’ chief spokesperson, refused to explain. Unprompted, Sanders volunteered that Harris was “well” although reporters had seen the vice president several times Tuesday and had no reason to be concerned about her health.

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Eventually the US Embassy in Hanoi issued a statement about the cause of the delay which used the government’s phrase “anomalous health incident” to refer to Havana Syndrome:

“Earlier this evening, the Vice President’s traveling delegation was delayed from departing Singapore because the Vice President’s office was made aware of a report of a recent possible anomalous health incident in Hanoi, Vietnam. After careful assessment, the decision was made to continue with the Vice President’s trip,” said Rachael Chen, spokeswoman for the US embassy in Hanoi, in a statement.

It’s not clear how soon before Harris’ flight to Hanoi the latest attack happened but it seems the people behind this are trying to make a point about their ability to target anyone, anywhere.

This is the first reported case of Havana Syndrome in Vietnam. Other cases have taken place in Cuba, China, Vienna, Austria and in Washington, DC near the White House. The total number of Americans impacted since the syndrome was identified in 2016 reached 200 after a wave of attacks in Vienna which started earlier this year. Nearly all of the people targeted have worked for the CIA, FBI or State Department making it extremely unlikely this is a coincidence.

In fact, last week there were reports that two US officials in Germany had sought medical treatment for Havana Syndrome. The latest victims were working on issues related to Russia:

The report added that the intelligence officers and diplomats who developed symptoms had been working in Russia-related areas, including cybersecurity, gas exports and “political interference.”…

If confirmed, it would be the first time Havana Syndrome symptoms have been reported in a NATO member state hosting US troops and nuclear weapons.

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There’s still a lot of debate about what causes Havana Syndrome, but the best guess at this point is that it’s caused by a pulsed, microwave weapon developed by the Russians. Russia denies it of course but then lying is what they do. If they are responsible, there’s no way this is happening without the direct approval of Vladimir Putin but the advantage of a microwave weapon is that it is invisible and therefore completely deniable.

It’s frustrating that we’ve known about this for five years now and still don’t seem to have a solid plan for catching the Russian goons in the act. Of course if we did have a plan we wouldn’t announce to the world, but the fact that we haven’t caught them yet means whatever plan we do have hasn’t worked. Where is James Bond when you need him?

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David Strom 5:20 PM | April 15, 2024
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