What Next

Is Someone Brain-Zapping American Operatives?

… maybe.


Episode Notes

The Havana syndrome sounds like something straight out of a spy novel: Microwaves are being directed towards U.S. embassies, causing hearing loss, headaches, and, in some cases, permanent brain damage. The Biden administration is taking these “anomalous health incidents” very seriously. Should we be, too?

Guest: Michael Wilner, senior national security and White House correspondent for McClatchy.

If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on What Next. Sign up now at slate.com/whatnextplus to help support our work.

Correction, Oct. 13, 2021: This show page originally misspelled Michael Wilner’s first name.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

All episodes


  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.