Kamala Harris’ flight delayed out of Singapore over ‘anomalous health incident’ in Vietnam

“All is fine.” Those words could be the tagline of the Biden administration, where transparency takes a back seat to misinformation on many issues important to the American people.

That phrase was the response from Vice President Kamala Harris’ communications director, Symone Sanders, in response to the vice president’s departure Tuesday from Singapore being delayed for several hours over a reported unexpected health issue in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Harris was scheduled to depart and travel to Vietnam, and eventually took off three hours behind schedule, according to USA Today. She is to meet with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other Vietnamese leaders to discuss the pandemic, regional security and economic cooperation.

“Earlier this evening, the Vice President’s traveling delegation was delayed from departing Singapore because the Vice President’s office was made aware of a report of a recent possible anomalous health incident in Hanoi, Vietnam,” the State Department said in a statement. “After careful assessment, the decision was made to continue with the Vice President’s trip.”

The health issue apparently did not involve Harris, as Sanders said the vice president was well and “all is fine.”

According to various reports, the issue was a possible case of what’s known as Havana Syndrome, a mysterious illness that has plagued U.S. diplomats and other personnel abroad.

Harris was in Singapore for three days, giving a speech on the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific region policies. USA Today reported the vice president “accused China of coercion and intimidation for its military provocations in the South China Sea,” and announced the U.S. is offering to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2023 as a sign of its commitment to the region.

As for Havana Syndrome, USA Today cited the National Academies of Sciences to report that those afflicted generally experience “an onset of a perceived loud noise, a sensation of intense pressure or vibration in the head, and pain in the ear or in the head.”

The New York Times reported back in May that the White House had “begun more aggressively investigating episodes that left spies, diplomats, soldiers and others with brain injuries.”

The episodes started five years ago, according to the article, with 130 people falling ill from the mysterious ailment.

More from the Times:

The number of cases within the C.I.A., the State Department, the Defense Department and elsewhere spurred broad concern in the Biden administration. The initial publicly confirmed cases were concentrated in China and Cuba and numbered about 60, not including a group of injured C.I.A. officers whose total is not public.

The new total adds cases from Europe and elsewhere in Asia and reflects efforts by the administration to more thoroughly review other incidents amid concern over a spate of them in recent months.

 

One thing is certain, few have heard of Havana Syndrome and there’s plenty of confusion about just what it is or if it really exists.

Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from Twitter, which includes plenty of speculation:

Tom Tillison

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