The Department of Defense is investigating whether an attack on American soldiers came from Russian directed-energy weapons.
The investigation, according to Politico, began late last year when U.S. troops in Syria reported flu-like symptoms that often manifest when targeted by directed-energy weapons. The high-tech weapons use lasers and microwaves to stealthily inflict illness or damage to targets at a distance. At least 50 American diplomatic officials say they have suffered problems related to directed-energy weapons since 2016, with many coming from diplomats in Cuba, where directed-energy was suspected to be used against the U.S. embassy.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said the directed-energy attack could be tied to Russian aggression in the Middle East but failed to comment further.
"I think that’s a question that has to have answers," he said. "Beyond that, we’ve all seen some of these attacks on diplomatic facilities. I don’t want to link the two, but again, I just can’t comment on any of that."
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said he will continue to receive confidential briefings from defense officials on the matter.
Tensions between Russia and the United States have escalated in the Middle East in recent years. Last year, a Russian military vehicle rammed an American armored car, injuring several troops. And in 2018, pro-Syrian government forces and Russian mercenaries attacked U.S. special forces in Syria, resulting in a four-hour firefight that killed hundreds, with no U.S. losses.
Public release of the investigation occurs as Russia and the Biden administration stand off, exhibiting the most strained diplomatic relations since the Obama administration. Russia has dispatched thousands of troops to the Ukrainian border, where some worry President Vladimir Putin may authorize a second invasion of the country. Moscow has also recalled several of its top diplomats from the United States in a move meant to signal its dissatisfaction.
Within Russia, the Putin regime continues to slowly kill Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who was arrested in 2020 for speaking out against the Russian government and is currently on a hunger strike in prison. President Biden has responded by calling Putin a "killer" and issuing sanctions on Russian officials. The administration, however, called off U.S. naval forces from a cruise near Russia.
Putin is also nearing completion of his vaunted Nord Stream 2 project, which would connect Russian natural resources to Western Europe, even as Republican lawmakers demand the Biden administration do more to stop its completion.