Staff at the Pentagon have launched a probe into at least two incidents in Washington DC. The incidents have reportedly seen people struck down by an invisible illness and bear some similarities to a destabilising condition suffered by US troops abroad.
The first incident of concern is believed to have taken place in November 2020 at The Ellipse – a 52-acre park to the south of the White House, CNN reports.
One National Security Council official is said to have suddenly fallen ill.
A White House official reported a similar incident while walking her dog in a Virginia suburb, just outside of the capital.
Senate and House Armed Services Committees were informed of the matter earlier this month.
Officials remain perplexed and are unable to draw definitive conclusions as to what might have happened, sources say.
But staff are said to be alarmed at the proximity of the incidents to the home of the US President.
CIA and defence staff are understood to be drawing possible comparisons to a mysterious “Havana syndrome” attack, experienced by members of the military on duty overseas.
The name derives from the first-ever reported attack in 2016 in Cuba.
The investigation remains ongoing.
In a statement, the Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told CNN: “There is nothing that the Secretary of Defense takes more seriously than the safety, health and welfare of our personnel serving around the globe in defence of our values and freedoms.
“Any concerns on issues that call that into question are thoroughly reviewed, and the appropriate actions are taken to mitigate risks to our personnel.”