• 2019 Mar 15

In 2016 and 2017, 25 Americans in the U.S. embassy in Cuba suffered serious, unexplained brain injuries. Now, at least 15 American officials in China are reporting similar symptoms. 60 Minutes reports, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT

U.S. officials in China report unexplained brain injuries…


U.S. officials in China report unexplained br…

An American official serving in China who was rushed back to the U.S. for medical reasons describes the symptoms she says she suffered from a mysterious attack that injured her brain. Catherine Werner tells her story for the first time to Scott Pelley for a report to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, March 17, at 7:00 p.m., ET/PT on CBS.

In 2016 and 2017, 25 Americans, including CIA agents, working in the American embassy in Havana, Cuba, suffered serious brain injuries. The symptoms included vision problems and memory loss. The symptoms were very similar to those that 15 American officials serving in China say they experienced more recently. Werner is one of several who spoke to 60 Minutes about the brain trauma they say they suffered in China and how they believe it was caused.

Werner says her mother, who came to care for her daughter during her illness in China, also became sickened. They are both at home now. Werner, 31, was a commercial trade officer promoting American business in the city of Guangzhou. She believes she was targeted and her health may be affected for life.

The U.S. State Department has called the Cuban events an attack, but has not classified the incidents in China as such. Several agencies are investigating those incidents. The State Department declined to speak to 60 Minutes for this report, instead, issuing this statement: “We will continue to provide our colleagues the care they need, regardless of their diagnosis or the location of their evacuation.”

Werner fears for others who may be subjected to the ordeal she has undergone and is speaking out as a warning to them. In this excerpt from Sunday’s broadcast, she describes what happened to her and to her mother in China.

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Scott Pelley: It was a weapon?
Mark Lenzi: Oh, of course it was a weapon.
Scott Pelley: An energy weapon–
Mark Lenzi: Absolutely.
Scott Pelley: What sort of energy is this that we’re talking about?
Mark Lenzi:  I believe it’s RF, radio frequency energy, in the microwave range.
A clue that supports that theory was revealed by the National Security Agency in 2014. This NSA statement describes such a weapon as a “high-powered microwave system weapon that may have the ability to weaken, intimidate, or kill an enemy over time without leaving evidence.” The statement goes on to say “…this weapon is designed to bathe a target’s living quarters in microwaves.”