Former national security adviser John Bolton worried by risk of 'Havana syndrome' at White House
John Bolton

A senior adviser to former US leader Donald Trump says he fears that if the technology to cause "Havana syndrome" exists, it could be used against the president.

"If we were at war and an adversary could disable the president and his top advisers, or commanders in the field, it could render us extraordinarily vulnerable," former national security adviser John Bolton told CBS's "60 Minutes," according to excerpts released Thursday.

"We don't know that that's the threat we're facing," Bolton clarified in the interview, which will air Sunday, "but I would much rather focus on finding out the answer now, rather than finding out later when it may be too late."

Over the past five years, US officials and family members based in numerous countries around the world have reported physical ailments such as sudden confusion, nausea and headaches, which has been dubbed "Havana syndrome," due to the first incidents being reported in Cuba.

The US government refers to these occurrences as anomalous health incidents (AHIs).

The CIA said last month that after investigating the incidents, all but about two dozen of some 1,000 reported AHIs had conventional medical or environmental explanations.

But for those two dozen, there was no explanation.

The US intelligence community later said that it would be possible to create such symptoms with intense directed energy from an external source, such as pulsed electromagnetic energy and ultrasound.

The CBS program said it will also speak with former high-ranking officials in the Department of Homeland Security who, sometime during the Trump administration, "were overcome with feelings of vertigo, confusion and memory loss while on White House grounds" and near their homes in the Washington area.

Incidents of officials experiencing "Havana syndrome" at the White House complex were first reported by CNN last year.

The current CIA director, William Burns, said that the investigation into the mysterious illnesses continues, but that it is a "very complicated issue" due to the multitude of possible explanations and the fact that it is a "very charged issue emotionally."

"And that's what… makes me even more determined not only to ensure people get the care that they deserve but also that we get to the bottom of this," Burns told CBS.