- Two Trump-era DHS officials told “60 Minutes” they were hit by symptoms of the Havana Syndrome in DC.
- Just five of the 1,000 cases publicly tallied worldwide have happened on US soil.
- The CIA currently does not believe the illness to be an attack by a foreign power.
Two senior officials who served in former President Donald Trump’s White House told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that they were stricken by symptoms of the mysterious “Havana Syndrome” in Washington, DC.
Since 2016, more than 1,000 US staffers, officials, and their families around the world have reported symptoms of Havana Syndrome, which include abrupt nausea, vertigo, and headaches.
Cases have been reported from Havana, Cuba, to Hanoi, Vietnam, to Geneva, Switzerland. Only five of cases have been reported on US soil.
Speaking in an episode of “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, two of those affected, both of whom worked for the Department of Homeland Security, detailed their experiences for the first time.
Olivia Troye, who served as counter terrorism advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, told “60 Minutes” she fell ill in the summer of 2019 on the steps in front of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House.
“It was like this piercing feeling on the side of my head, it was like, I remember it was on the right side of my head and I got like, vertigo. I was unsteady, I was, I felt nauseous, I was somewhat disoriented,” she said.
The second official who went public on “60 Minutes” was Miles Taylor, a former DHS chief of staff who was later revealed to be the anonymous official who detailed a “resistance” in the Trump administration.
Taylor, who left DHS in June 2019, said his ordeal started in April 2018, after hearing strange clicking noises in his apartment near the White House.
“I went to the window, opened up my window, looked down at the street … and I see a white van. And the van’s brake lights turned on, and it pulled off and it sped away,” he said.
Taylor said he then began to get symptoms consistent with the Havana Syndrome.
“Feeling off balance, feeling just out of it, again, those sort of concussion-like symptoms you would have from, you know, getting knocked pretty hard in a sport,” he told “60 Minutes.”
Taylor told “60 Minutes” he also knew of a senior US official serving at cabinet-level in the Trump White House who had a similar experience at their home. He did not name that official.
The New Yorker reported last year that a senior member of the White House National Security Council was stricken with Havana Syndrome symptoms in November 2020.
That person, who was not identified, reported being hit by the symptoms in the same spot as Troye did, former Trump national security advisor John Bolton told “60 Minutes.”
“They had disorientation and ringing in their ears. And just a general inability to function,” Bolton said.
The other case reported on US soil came in 2019, when a White House official told GQ that she began to experience symptoms of “Havana Syndrome” while walking her dog in Arlington, Virginia, which is next to Washington, DC.
Earlier this month, US intelligence experts concluded in a report that “Havana Syndrome” could be the work of targeted electromagnetic pulses.
However, the US has not placed blame on any entity for the illness and the CIA currently believes that it is not an attack by a foreign country.
“We’ve also not yet been able to link a foreign state actor or an external device or mechanism to any of those cases,” CIA director William Burns told “60 Minutes.”
“But as I said, we’re not done yet. We still have a lot of work to do.”