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Russian special unit linked to Havana Syndrome that sickened US officials overseas: report

A secretive Russian could be linked to mysterious attacks on Americans overseas despite a government report that found it “very unlikely" a foreign adversary is involved.

A special Russian intelligence unit could be behind a series of attacks that have left dozens of U.S. officials serving overseas with mysterious illnesses.

Russian intelligence unit 29155, a highly secretive military unit under the direct control of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has potential links to the mysterious cases of "Havana Syndrome" that have stricken more than 100 Americans since 2016, according to a report from CBS’ "60 Minutes."

The report comes after a 2023 government report on the mysterious illnesses concluded it is "very unlikely" that a foreign adversary is responsible, despite over 100 Americans having symptoms scientists have said could be caused by a beam of microwaves or acoustic sound.

But many of the victims are skeptical of the report, expressing frustration that the U.S. government’s public position has been to downplay potential attacks on Americans.


Those doubts are shared by Greg Edgreen, a former Army lieutenant colonel who was the lead Pentagon investigator into what are officially known as "anomalous health incidents," telling "60 Minutes" that the bar for proving a foreign country’s involvement is set too high and that evidence has consistently pointed to Russian involvement.

"Unfortunately, I can't get into specifics, based on the classification," Edgreen told "60 Minutes." "But I can tell you, at a very early stage, I started to focus on Moscow."

The potential attacks have targeted White House staff, CIA officers, FBI agents, military officers and family members, according to the report, with many of those suffering from the mysterious illnesses believing that they were targeted by a secret weapon capable of firing high-energy beams of microwaves or ultrasound.

According to Edgreen, the officials who were targeted were top performers and doing work that was focused on Russia.

"And consistently there was a Russia nexus," Edgreen said. "There was some angle where they had worked against Russia, focused on Russia, and done extremely well."


Mark Zaid, an attorney representing more than two dozen clients who suffer from symptoms of Havana Syndrome, agreed with Edgreen, telling "60 Minutes" that his clients include members of the CIA, State Department and FBI with a common thread in doing work related to Russia.

"The one thread that I know of with the FBI personnel that is common among most, if not all, of my clients other than the family members connected to the employee, was they were all doing something relating to Russia," Zaid told "60 Minutes."

Christo Grozev, a journalist for The Insider who worked on the investigative report with "60 Minutes," believes Russian intelligence unit 29155 is involved in the potential attacks. Russian documents uncovered by Grozev show a link between 29155 and a "directed energy weapon," with one document revealing an award that was given to a 29155 officer for work on "potential capabilities of non-lethal acoustic weapons."

"It's the closest to a receipt you can have for this," Grozev told "60 Minutes."

The report also uncovered evidence that 29155 was present in Tbilisi, Georgia, when multiple Americans reported potential incidents of attacks there, with sources telling the outlet of an investigation into a Russian named Albert Averyanov, whose name appeared on travel manifests and phone records alongside known members of 29155. The report also noted that Averyanov is the son of the unit’s commander.

One of the Averyanov calls was intercepted, according to the report, and featured a man asking in Russian: "Is it supposed to have blinking green lights?" and "Should I leave it on all night?"


The incidents of potential attacks on Americans in the country began a day after the call, according to the report.

Rebekah Koffler, a strategic military intelligence analyst, former senior official at the Defense Intelligence Agency and author of "Putin’s Playbook," told Fox News Digital that it is "highly likely" that Russia is behind the cases of Havana Syndrome attacks, arguing that the country has the "capability, doctrine and intent to use nonlethal weapons against U.S. personnel and physical assets."

"During the Cold War, Russia’s predecessor, the Soviet Union, routinely used nonlethal weapons against American government personnel," Koffler said.

Koffler said she disagrees with the 2023 government report that concluded it was unlikely a foreign adversary was behind the potential attacks, arguing that the cases have the trademarks of operations that would typically only be carried out by 29155.

"Only President Putin can authorize such intelligence operations, which are called ‘active measures’ or ‘special tasks.’ Such covert operations are normally executed by the GRU’s VCh (Voinskaya Chast’) 29155," Koffler said.


Meanwhile, a Russian presidential spokesperson issued a statement denying that the country was involved in the mysterious cases, calling such an accusation "unfounded."

The lawyer representing dozens of clients, who holds a security clearance, also doubts the government assessment, telling "60 Minutes" that there could be some sort of "cover up" at play.

"There is, in my view, without a doubt, evidence of a cover up. Now, some of that cover up is not necessarily that, 'Oh, we found a weapon,'" Zaid said. "What I've seen more so is, 'We see lines of inquiry that would take us potentially to answers we don't want to have to deal with, so we're not going to explore any of those avenues.'"

In response to the "60 Minutes" report, a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the administration had ordered relevant departments to "prioritize investigations into the cause" of Havana Syndrome and to ensure that government employees and their families receive "timely access to medical care."

"The Biden-Harris administration continues to emphasize the importance of prioritizing efforts to comprehensively examine the effects and potential causes of AHIs," the spokesperson said.

An FBI spokesperson told "60 Minutes" that the incidents are a "top priority for the FBI."

"We will continue to work alongside our partners in the intelligence community as part of the interagency effort to determine how we can best protect our personnel," the spokesperson said. "The FBI takes all U.S. government personnel who report symptoms seriously."

The FBI did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

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