The Pentagon has briefed top lawmakers on suspected “directed-energy” attacks against US troops, potentially by Russia, according to a report.
At least two groups of lawmakers with the necessary security clearances have been briefed by Defense Department officials this year on the incidents being probed, Politico reported Wednesday.
The briefings were given to lawmakers both in writing and in person.
The congressional officials who told the outlet they had been briefed said they were informed about the suspected attacks as part of their Pentagon oversight duties.
Directed-energy weapons use lasers, microwaves and particle beams to hit and destroy their target.
The briefings, the outlet reported, included intelligence about injuries to US troops in Syria, specifically one incident that occurred in the war-torn country in the fall of 2020.
At the time, two people familiar with the probe said, several troops began experiencing “flu-like symptoms.”
The suspected attacks by Russia became a concern to national security officials last year, which is when the Pentagon’s office of special operations and low-intensity conflict launched the investigation.
A Pentagon spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the supposed attacks.
Reached for comment by Politico, a spokesperson said the department was not aware of any directed-energy attacks against US troops in Syria.
They declined further comment on how the Defense Department interacts with lawmakers or any internal probes.
The report comes as Moscow continues to flex its military muscle in Ukraine and in the Black Sea — as well as its warning to the US to back off, which caused President Biden to turn two US warships around.
Biden declared a national emergency last Thursday, slapping sanctions on more than three dozen people in Russia and expelling 10 diplomats.
At the same time, he scrapped plans to send two US warships to the Black Sea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently closed off the Kerch Strait to foreign warships until next fall.
Since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Russia has supported pro-Russian insurgents in neighboring republics — including shoring up allied breakaway states in Georgia and Moldova.
Putin presided over the annexation of Crimea in 2014 without Ukraine’s consent in a rare present-day boundary change by force.
Russian troop deployments are often murky, but Putin’s government is believed to have deployed troops to Crimea to facilitate the 2014 annexation and to have secretly supported a pair of breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.
The Kremlin has continued to increase its military presence in the region, specifically with its naval ships in the Black Sea.
Over the weekend, it sent two more warships and 15 smaller vessels to join the fleet it already has in that waterway.