The frustration culminated in a tense conversation Mr. Pottinger had with Vaughn Bishop, then the deputy C.I.A. director, and other officials in November. Mr. Pottinger urged the intelligence community to do more to cooperate with the Pentagon and other agencies. The next month, the National Security Council convened a deputy-level meeting across agencies to again push for further action and a broader investigation.

Mr. Pottinger declined to comment.

The Biden administration has tried to further improve coordination, including directing agencies to each name a coordinator to work on both identifying the cause of the episodes and improving health care for the injured personnel. Even some Democrats who have been briefed on the incidents called on the administration to be more aggressive.

“I don’t believe that we as a government, in general, have acted quickly enough,” said Representative Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat and former Marine who heads the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations. “We really need to fully understand where this is coming from, what the targeting methods are and what we can do to stop them.”

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Mysterious Ailments Are Said to Be More Widespread Among U.S. Personnel

WASHINGTON — Mysterious episodes that caused brain injuries in spies, diplomats, soldiers and other U.S. personnel overseas starting five years ago now number more than 130 people, far more than previously known, according to current and former officials.

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.

Since December, at least three C.I.A. officers have reported serious health effects from episodes overseas. One occurred within the past two weeks, and all have required the officers to undergo outpatient treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center or other facilities.

a report released in December, the National Academy of Sciences said a microwave weapon probably caused the injuries. Some officials believe a microwave or directed-energy device is the most likely cause.

The severity of the brain injuries has ranged widely. But some victims have chronic, potentially irreversible symptoms and pain, suggesting potentially permanent brain injury. Physicians at Walter Reed have warned government officials that some victims are at risk for suicide.

one in 2020 that affected a National Security Council official near the Ellipse south of the White House and another in 2019 involving a woman walking her dog in Northern Virginia, have no known connection to an earlier overseas event. While many officials expressed skepticism that Russia or another power would conduct an attack in the United States, agencies are investigating.

Congress has demanded more from the C.I.A. In a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee last month, senators accused the C.I.A. of doing too little to investigate the mysterious episodes and until recently showing skepticism about them, according to people briefed on the meeting.

During the Trump administration, some in the agency said there was little intelligence showing a foreign power was responsible and argued that it made little sense analytically for Russia or another foreign intelligence service to make unprovoked attacks on Americans. Others doubted the cause of the brain injuries.

The new C.I.A. director, William J. Burns, has tried to move aggressively to improve the agency’s response, current and former officials said. Mr. Burns has met with victims, visited doctors who have treated injured agency officers and briefed lawmakers.

He has also assigned his deputy, David Cohen, to oversee the investigation and the health care response. Mr. Cohen will meet monthly with victims and will lead regular briefings for Congress. The agency has also doubled the number of medical personnel conducting treatment and managing cases of injured officers.

In addition, the chief medical officer, who had been criticized by some former officers as too skeptical of the incidents and dismissive of some symptoms, announced his retirement. He was replaced with another doctor seen inside the C.I.A. as more focused on patient care.

another cohort of C.I.A. officers traveling in a variety of countries, including Russia, had said they were the likely victims of attacks and reported similar symptoms.

Lawmakers and the Trump administration’s National Security Council grew increasingly frustrated last year with State Department’s and the C.I.A.’s handling of the incidents.

Robert C. O’Brien, President Donald J. Trump’s last national security adviser, and Matthew Pottinger, his deputy, had already begun working in early 2020 to redouble efforts by their aides to understand the mysterious episodes and to get the Pentagon more involved.

But their staff members ran into frustration getting the C.I.A., the State Department and other agencies to share details about injured personnel, in part because of federal protections on health data. White House officials thought the investigation, in which the C.I.A. had been the lead agency, had run into a dead end.

The frustration culminated in a tense conversation Mr. Pottinger had with Vaughn Bishop, then the deputy C.I.A. director, and other officials in November. Mr. Pottinger urged the intelligence community to do more to cooperate with the Pentagon and other agencies. The next month, the National Security Council convened a deputy-level meeting across agencies to again push for further action and a broader investigation.

Mr. Pottinger declined to comment.

The Biden administration has tried to further improve coordination, including directing agencies to each name a coordinator to work on both identifying the cause of the episodes and improving health care for the injured personnel. Even some Democrats who have been briefed on the incidents called on the administration to be more aggressive.

“I don’t believe that we as a government, in general, have acted quickly enough,” said Representative Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat and former Marine who heads the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations. “We really need to fully understand where this is coming from, what the targeting methods are and what we can do to stop them.”

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In Russia, a Military Buildup That Can’t be Missed

MASLOVKA, Russia — Deep in a pine forest in southern Russia, military trucks, their silhouettes blurred by camouflage netting, appear through the trees. Soldiers in four-wheel-drive vehicles creep along rutted dirt roads. And outside a newly pitched tent camp, sentries, Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders, pace back and forth.

Over the past month or so, Russia has deployed what analysts are calling the largest military buildup along the border with Ukraine since the outset of Kyiv’s war with Russian-backed separatists seven years ago.

It is far from a clandestine operation: During a trip to southern Russia by a New York Times journalist, evidence of the buildup was everywhere to be seen.

The mobilization is setting off alarms in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European capitals and Washington, and is increasingly seen as an early foreign policy test for the Biden administration, which just hit Moscow with a new round of sanctions. Russia responded almost immediately, announcing on Friday that it would expel 10 U.S. diplomats.

“Solar Winds” hacking of government agencies and corporations, various disinformation efforts and the annexation of Crimea.

told European lawmakers on Wednesday that Russia is now garrisoning about 110,000 soldiers near the Ukrainian border. In Washington, the director of the C.I.A. told Congress that it remains unclear whether the buildup is a show of force or preparation for something more ominous.

Even if the goal of the buildup remains unclear, military analysts say it was most certainly meant to be seen. A show of force is hardly a good show if nobody watches.

“They are deploying in a very visible way,” said Michael Kofman, a senior researcher at CNA, a think tank based in Arlington, Va., who has been monitoring the military activity. “They are doing it overtly, so we can see it. It is intentional.”

foreign reporters have been showing up daily to watch the buzz of activity.

Conflict Intelligence Team, a group of independent Russian military analysts.

Gigantic military trucks are parked within sight of the roads, which have, strangely, remained open to public traffic.

news release to announce the redeployment of the naval landing craft closer to Ukraine, in case anybody was curious. The vessels sailed along rivers and canals connecting the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea. The ministry posted pictures.

forces for a possible incursion.

But Mr. Burns said U.S. officials were still trying to determine if the Kremlin was preparing for military action or merely sending a signal.

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Intelligence Chiefs Warn of Russian Troops Near Ukraine and Other Threats

WASHINGTON — The Russian military buildup at the Ukraine border and in Crimea could provide enough forces for a limited military incursion, the C.I.A. director, William J. Burns, told senators on Wednesday as he and other senior officials outlined a range of threats facing the United States.

Russia could simply be sending a signal to the United States or trying to intimidate the Ukrainian government, but it had the abilities in place to do more, Mr. Burns told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“That buildup has reached the point that it could provide the basis for a limited military incursion, as well,” Mr. Burns said. “It is something not only the United States but our allies have to take very seriously.”

Mr. Burns testified alongside Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, and other officials about an array of threats from global powers like Russia and China as well as challenges that have been less of a focus of intelligence agencies in the past, including domestic extremism and climate change.

annual threat assessment report, released Tuesday ahead of the hearing, the intelligence community said that China’s push for global power posed a threat to the United States through its aggression in its region, its expansion of its surveillance abilities and its attempts to dominate technological advances.

Russia has also pushed for a sphere of influence that includes countries that were part of the Soviet Union, like Ukraine, the report said.

Both China and Russia, however, wanted to avoid direct confrontation with the United States, the report said.

Mr. Burns said the Russian actions have prompted internal briefings as well as consultations with allies. President Biden’s call on Tuesday to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was intended to “register very clearly the seriousness of our concern,” Mr. Burns said.

The United States has been tracking the Russian troops for some time, at least since late March. American officials have said privately that the Russians have done little to hide their troop buildup, unlike in 2014 when they first attacked Ukraine. That has convinced some, but not all, officials briefed on the intelligence that the Russian activities may be mostly for show.

penetrated nine federal agencies, and another by China that compromised Microsoft Exchange servers. The Biden administration is expected to respond to the Russian hacking soon, most likely with sanctions and other measures.

Ms. Haines said Russia used hackings to sow discord and threaten the United States and its allies. “Russia is becoming increasingly adept at leveraging its technological prowess to develop asymmetric options in both the military and cyberspheres in order to give itself the ability to push back and force the United States to accommodate its interests,” she said.

Lawmakers also raised the issue of a series of mysterious episodes that have injured diplomats and C.I.A. officers overseas. Some former officials believe Russia is behind the episodes, which they have called attacks.

Mr. Burns said he was working with his colleagues to ensure better medical care for C.I.A. officers. He also said he was working to “get to the bottom of the question of what caused these incidents and who might have been responsible.”

Questions on China dominated the earlier Senate confirmation hearings for Ms. Haines and Mr. Burns, and lawmakers again pressed on Wednesday for assessments on China and its efforts to steal American technology. Ms. Haines outlined how China uses technological might, economic influence and other levers of power to intimidate its neighbors.

“China is employing a comprehensive approach to demonstrate its growing strength and compel regional neighbors to acquiesce to Beijing’s preferences,” she told senators.

another recent intelligence report, on global trends, highlighted how the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, along with technological change, were testing “the resilience and adaptability” of society. The “looming disequilibrium,” she said, compels intelligence agencies to broaden their definition of national security.

But at least one lawmaker, Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, also asked a more practical question: How many intelligence officers have received coronavirus vaccines?

Mr. Burns said 80 percent of the C.I.A. work force was fully vaccinated and another 10 percent have had their first shot. He said all C.I.A. officers serving overseas “have the vaccine available to them directly.”

Mr. Wray was unable to give an estimate of how many of his agents had received a shot, saying that the vaccination rates varied in field offices in different states. Ms. Haines said 86 percent of her work force had had at least one shot, with a “fair percentage” being fully vaccinated. General Nakasone also had no estimate but said a vaccination center had been set up at Fort Meade, Md., where the National Security Agency’s headquarters is.

Lawmakers have also been pressing intelligence agencies to help examine the problem of domestic extremism. Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and the chairman of the intelligence committee, linked the rise of domestic extremism to the same trends promoting disinformation produced by Russia and others. And he said he wanted the intelligence chiefs to outline how they could help provide better warnings of potential violence like the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“go back to school.” Mr. Trump’s last director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, chose not to release a threat assessment or testify before Congress last year.

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C.I.A. to Expand Havana Syndrome Inquiry

WASHINGTON — A new C.I.A. task force is trying to expand efforts to find the cause of a series of mysterious incidents that injured its officers around the world, the agency said this week, episodes that have occurred in Cuba, China, Russia and elsewhere.

The task force will work with the State Department as well as other intelligence agencies to gather fresh evidence about the episodes and re-examine existing material to draw conclusions on whether attacks occurred and, if so, what caused the injuries and who was responsible.

“C.I.A. is working alongside other government agencies to double down on our efforts to find answers regarding the unexplained global health incidents that have impacted personnel,” said Timothy L. Barrett, the C.I.A. press secretary. “The agency’s top priority has been and continues to be the well-being of all of our officers.”

Although the task force was formally established in December, the announcement of the new efforts comes after William J. Burns, the Biden administration’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., pledged during his confirmation hearing to review the evidence surrounding the incidents, which he described as attacks on agency personnel.

Guangzhou, China, started experiencing the symptoms. A third group of C.I.A. officers, many of them working on countering Russian intelligence activities, have been affected in a variety of countries. The incidents have continued in recent months.

Some current and former government officials believe Russia is behind the incidents, though neither the State Department nor C.I.A. has reached that conclusion.

A report from the National Academy of Sciences said a microwave weapon was most likely the cause of the injuries. While the report has convinced a number of the victims, some experts have viewed skeptically the evidence a microwave weapon was responsible.

injured while visiting Moscow, said it was clear from the hearing that Mr. Burns would “engage in a robust investigative effort to find the actors involved and hold them accountable.”

Until Mr. Burns is sworn in and begins his own review, the C.I.A. is not expected to make any new conclusions. But the agency appears eager to signal that it is taking the issue seriously.

The task force will be made up of medical experts, human resources specialists and intelligence officers, some on a full-time basis, as the agency seeks a better understanding of the episodes.

The State Department has also stepped up efforts to examine the incidents that have left its personnel injured. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has received updates on the department’s investigation and has elevated the role of the coordinator overseeing that examination to better work with other departments, improve the response to the incidents and support injured personnel, a spokesman for the State Department said.

During the Trump administration, current and former officials expressed frustration with the government investigation. The State Department and C.I.A., they said, were not adequately sharing information. Some officials said there was tension between the two agencies.

Biden administration officials said that they had plans to fix that, and that the State Department, C.I.A., and other intelligence agencies would work better together to examine the incidents and their cause.

Gina Haspel, the former C.I.A. director, was not convinced by the evidence that Russia was responsible or that the series of incidents could be definitively classified as an attack, according to intelligence officials. But in December, Ms. Haspel formalized the work of ad hoc groups to create the task force, to re-examine earlier incidents and to collect information about new ones.

She also asked officers who thought they might have been victims but had not reported it to come forward to talk with the task force.

She also assigned the task force to help current and former officers get better treatment for injuries caused by their service with the C.I.A. Recent intelligence authorization bills based by Congress have allocated additional resources for current and former officers to receive medical treatment.

Some briefed on the new efforts said medical treatment is improving. Agency officials are now being assigned a nurse or other medical professional to help coordinate their care, including options to receive treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center or other specialized facilities.

But some current and former government officials said they remained uncertain that all of the bureaucratic hurdles to getting treatment have been removed. So far, only a handful of C.I.A. officers with Havana syndrome have been treated at Walter Reed.

Mr. Polymeropoulos, the former C.I.A. officer, helped run clandestine operations in Russia and Europe and experienced what he believes was an attack in December 2017 while on a trip to Moscow for the agency. The incident immediately caused severe vertigo that later developed into debilitating headaches.

When the headaches did not end, Mr. Polymeropoulos retired. He pushed for the agency to allow him to go to Walter Reed, which the agency initially resisted. But last month, Mr. Polymeropoulos completed a treatment course for traumatic brain injury, or T.B.I., at Walter Reed.

Mr. Polymeropoulos said Mr. Burns should meet with injured officers to hear their firsthand accounts as he begins reviewing the evidence of what happened and the medical response.

“Burns will in short order need to overcome a bureaucracy that has not been kind to those that have asked for medical care,” Mr. Polymeropoulos said. “Immediately opening the pathway to Walter Reed for any officers who request treatment — as T.B.I. gets worse over time — will show a level of dedication to the work force that has been sorely lacking.”

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