On June 5, 2007, President George W. Bush arrived at the Grand Hotel in Heiligendamm, Germany. The Baltic Sea resort was hosting that year's G-8 summit.

But this would be no ordinary gathering. Exceptional witness testimony indicates in hindsight that Bush and others in his delegation may have been victims of the so-called "Havana Syndrome." The possible link between ailments suffered by Bush's delegation and Havana Syndrome has not been previously reported.

Havana Syndrome was named when dozens of U.S. government officers assigned to the embassy in Havana, Cuba, began experiencing what the government referred to as "anomalous health incidents." Hundreds of other U.S. personnel have subsequently experienced Havana Syndrome globally since 2016. A 2020 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report identified common symptoms as "a sensation of intense pressure or vibration in the head, and pain in the ear or more diffusely in the head ... Different numbers of individuals also reported sudden onset of tinnitus, hearing loss, dizziness, unsteady gait and visual disturbances." The report assessed the symptoms to be "consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy."

The leading U.S. government suspicion is that Havana Syndrome is a result of Russian GRU-led intelligence services' use of RF/microwave pulsed energy devices against U.S. personnel. Sources tell me that one theory that has recently gained traction within the CIA's Havana Syndrome Task Force is that the Russians are deploying their RF/MW capability via pulsed nanosecond bursts that are near impossible to detect.

Regardless, Russia is known to have employed RF/MW capabilities since the Cold War. Within the U.S. intelligence community, there is suspicion that a high-power density RF/MW weapon was used against National Security Agency officers Mike Beck and Charles Gubete as they visited Russia in 1996. Both men suffered early onset Parkinson's disease, with Gubete dying in 2013.

The Kremlin isn't always shy about advertising its interest in RF/MW capabilities. A 2012 Russian government gazette recorded how its intelligence services had capabilities "that influence the psycho-physical state of an individual with their fields and rays" and bragged, "in a number of areas not long ago our specialists were far ahead of the Americans." A 2019 Russian army report claimed that RF/MW weapons "have significantly decreased in size and can be installed on a tank turret and even at the head of a tactical missile ... The [target] begins to hear non-existent noises and whistles ... When exposed to low frequency electromagnetic radiation, the human brain releases chemicals that regulate its behavior. [The RF/MW devices] can cause symptoms of various diseases..."

This context makes former first lady Laura Bush's 2010 book, Spoken from the Heart, deserving of new attention. While I understand that the CIA-led Havana Syndrome Task Force is not considering Mrs. Bush's testimony or relevant Secret Service reports from the incident, more than five active and former U.S. government personnel with knowledge of Havana Syndrome tell me that the 2007 G-8 summit deserves new attention.

The former first lady describes arriving in Heiligendamm (the first couple was staying in a villa on the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm compound). But, she writes, "by the afternoon of [June 7] I could barely stand up. My head inexplicably throbbed; I was horribly dizzy and nauseated. I went to bed, pulled up the covers, and for several hours felt so awful that I might die right there in the hotel room." Mrs. Bush continues, "Over the next day nearly a dozen members of our delegation were stricken, even [former President George W. Bush], who started to feel sick during an early morning staff briefing." Mrs. Bush's memoir notes that "for most of us, the primary symptoms were nausea or dizziness, but one of our military aides had difficulty walking and a White House staffer lost all hearing in one ear." Suspecting a possible poison attack, the Secret Service "went on full alert."

Noting that former President Bush "almost never gets sick," Mrs. Bush recalls that her husband "felt so ill that he met with [then-French President Nicolas] Sarkozy in his hotel room and did not even stand up to greet him."

At the time, the White House underplayed these symptoms to the press, suggesting that Bush was suffering from a mild stomach ailment. The first lady concludes, "We all recovered, although a few of the staff had lingering after effects; our military aide's gait has never returned to normal, nor has our senior staffer regained full hearing in that ear." Mrs. Bush writes that the "most concrete conclusion any doctors could reach was that we contracted a virus that attacks a nerve near the inner ear and is prevalent in Heiligendamm." When George W. Bush arrived in Poland later on Friday, June 8, a White House pool report said he appeared frail.

The symptoms described by Mrs. Bush bear striking similarity to those reported by Havana Syndrome victims. Moreover, when the Secret Service went "on full alert," protocol would have entailed their deployment of airborne and surface sensors to detect poisons across the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threat spectrum. Considering Mrs. Bush's position as first lady, her testimony lends high confidence that the Secret Service did not find anything in that spectrum.

A 2010 Der Spiegel article also weakens the prospect of a virus or food poisoning being responsible for the ailments. It includes an interview with a senior physician based in Heiligendamm, Dr. Stefan Hummel. Asked about the prospect of a virus, Hummel laughed and responded, "No, no, no." Noting the differential symptoms described in Mrs. Bush's memoir, Der Spiegel reported Hummel explaining that "A highly contagious virus would not have been confined to [the Bush] delegation... And if there had been many sick people, he would have heard [about it]." What of the virus that Mrs. Bush says is prevalent in Heiligendamm? On the contrary, Hummel says the area has "an almost virus-hostile climate."

Regrettably, other sources present at the event have little to say. The Secret Service, the CIA, the office of former President Bush, and four former presidential military aides (in service at the time) did not respond to multiple requests for comment. I reached out to a number of former Bush administration officials for comment. Those who responded affirmed that they have received no follow-up contact from the U.S. government since Havana Syndrome reports became more frequent in 2016. They refused to comment further about the incident.

So, is the government neglecting the investigation of a possible attack on the President of the United States?

One U.S. government official diagnosed with a brain injury as a result of Havana Syndrome told me that "Laura Bush's descriptions are eerily similar to what I and many of my colleagues have described about our symptoms when we were injured. At one point, my headaches were so severe I also thought I might die. I also had hearing loss in one ear prior to being medevaced to the U.S. in addition to having literally all of the other symptoms [Mrs. Bush] described as affecting the delegation. I and dozens of my [U.S. government] colleagues have been diagnosed by leading U.S. doctors with Traumatic Brain Injuries. Many of us have work backgrounds concerning a particular hostile country that is known to have RF/MW weaponry. At the very least, members of the Secret Service on the 2007 G-8 assignment, as well as those staffers [Mrs. Bush] describes as permanently affected by the incident, should be interviewed by investigators."

When it comes to the Havana Syndrome mystery, the 2007 G-8 summit is notable for who had proximity to Bush's delegation.

The summit security operation involved 2,000 federal police officers, Germany's GSG 9 special forces unit, combat speed boat crews, and even a naval warship. Two perimeter security cordons, one 12 kilometers long, were constructed around the Heiligendamm municipal area. Restrictions were also imposed on protests within 200 meters of the security fence. These measures suggest that if the symptoms described were indeed a result of RF/MW pulsed energy, the purveyor of the RF/MW system responsible was either from the German government or one of the other governments in attendance. As the only nonally of the U.S. present at the summit, Russia must bear special attention.

Political context also lends to that possibility.

The 2007 G-8 summit saw the start of the decline in U.S. relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin that has sustained since. Immediately preceding the summit, Putin pledged to build new nuclear strike options in response to U.S. missile defense systems planned for Europe. Barely a week before the summit, Russia successfully tested an R-500 cruise missile variant of the Iskander missile system (specifically designed to evade U.S. missile defense systems). On the afternoon of Thursday, June 7, Bush and Putin discussed their missile disagreement on the summit sidelines. On Friday morning, Bush suffered the ailments.

What may have happened?

We can only offer theories, but consideration of Russia's use of RF/MW against Bush's delegation must be a serious one.

Although Russia has a predicated RF/MW weapons capability, it seems unlikely that Bush's delegation would have been targeted for physical harm. The costs of any identified Russian culpability for such action would simply be too high. Bush and Putin also retained a respectful personal relationship in 2007.

A likelier possibility is that Bush's delegation was targeted for electronic or signal intelligence purposes. The intelligence collection utility of RF wave or pulsed energy devices is established. Leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden describe NSA devices that use RF waves to irradiate devices and collect data and/or imagery off of them. A 2019 study by Japanese scientists explains the basic premise of such devices. Namely, the use of the "electromagnetic waves of a particular frequency irradiated from the outside the device as the driving energy. Using the irradiated frequency as a carrier, the confidential information inside a device is modulated and forcibly leaked outside the device. In addition, the distance at which EM waves containing information are transmitted can be controlled by changing the irradiation intensity."

Still, the NSA's devices are operated without causing ill-health effects to those near the targeted devices. In contrast, Russian intelligence services often sacrifice operational tradecraft for rapid "reportable" results that can be presented to higher-ranking officials. This is particularly true of the GRU military intelligence service, which tends to view aggressive action as successful tradecraft in and of itself.

An October Science Advances study offers further perspective. Including U.S. government scientists among its authors, the study explains how RF/MW pulsed energy can cause ill-health effects of the kind reported by Havana Syndrome victims. It notes that the power needed to achieve ill-health effects is "achievable with known microwave hardware ... this is within the capabilities of some commercial and military systems." It also reports where "the power densities required to cause [brain] cavitation are physically possible (below the theoretical upper limit of dielectric breakdown of microwaves in air) but large enough to cause disturbances (possibly damage) to electronic devices subjected to the same power densities."

This context suggests it is at least prudent that the U.S. government consider whether Bush's delegation was targeted by RF/MW weapons at the 2007 G-8 summit. Putin's Presidential Security Service protective detail and attached electronic intelligence specialists were within the summit inner cordon and thus highly proximate to Bush. In 2007, Putin's security detail was led by Viktor Zolotov. Now the head of Russia's national guard, Zolotov has been an aggressive and highly trusted Putin loyalist since the Russian leader's days as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. Along with National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev (who was the Russian Federal Security Service's director in 2007 and is suspected by some U.S. officials of orchestrating Russia's RF/MW campaign), Zolotov is a top Kremlin hard-liner.

Nevertheless, it doesn't appear that there was any suspicion toward Russia back in 2007. Three weeks following the G-8 summit, Putin was an honored guest at the Bush family's summer residence in Kennebunkport, Maine.