WASHINGTON — An intelligence officer who traveled in India this month with the CIA director reported symptoms consistent with so-called Havana syndrome, suggesting a possible escalation in the mysterious incidents that have affected US officials since 2016, current and former officials said. .
The circumstances of the incident are still under investigation and officials have not yet determined whether the CIA officer was targeted because the officer was traveling with the director, William J. Burns, or for other reasons. If the incident was caused by a hostile intelligence agency, she may not have known the officer was traveling with Mr. Burns.
Officials are struggling to pinpoint the cause of the symptoms. While some officials believe they are attacks and that one or more rival powers are responsible, intelligence agencies have yet to come to any firm conclusions.
Theories abound, including that the injuries are byproducts of surveillance technology or that they are deliberate attempts to cause harm, but so far all are unproven.
Nevertheless, Mr Burns was upset about the incident in India, current and former officials said. Some former officials suggested that if it was an attack and a hostile force was responsible, hitting Mr Burns’ delegation would amount to a blatant escalation.
The incident in India CNN previously reported that.
mr. Burns has made research into the aberrant health incidents attributed to Havana syndrome a top priority, creating a targeting cell to investigate the incidents and improve medical care for those injured by them.
Nearly half of the known cases involve CIA officers, although State Department diplomats and members of the military have also been affected, officials said.
Last month, Vice President Kamala Harris was delayed three hours because she was about to fly to Hanoi after a US official in Vietnam reported symptoms of Havana syndrome.
Current and former officials said there is no sign of the incidents declining, and some people believe they could increase.
Government agencies have stepped up warnings about the incidents in recent days, especially for officials traveling abroad. Last week, the Pentagon warned its entire workforce of the abnormal health incidents, which the Pentagon said often involved strange noises or a feeling of heat or pressure, followed by headaches, nausea, dizziness and other symptoms.
The new government warnings have told all officials that if they experience any such sensations or symptoms, they should immediately leave the area they are in.
A CIA spokeswoman said the agency is not commenting on specific incidents or officers. But she said the agency’s protocols for health incidents include prompting officers to receive medical treatment.
The spokeswoman outlined the steps the agency and Mr Burns have taken to improve the response and treatment of Havana syndrome incidents, including making changes to the Office of Medical Services and working with a panel of experts from the intelligence agencies and the private sector to better understand the episodes.
While some officials believe the incidents could go back years, including the Cold War, the most recent wave started at the US Embassy in Havana, where diplomats and CIA agents heard strange noises and then felt a headache and nausea.
That was followed by a series of incidents at US diplomatic outposts in China, in which a number of US officials were seriously injured. Since then, cases have been reported across Asia and Europe.