Senator Collins’ Bill to Support ‘Havana Syndrome’ Victims Passed by Congress

The legislation led by Senators Collins, Warner, Rubio, and Shaheen will support U.S. Intelligence and Diplomatic staff who have suffered brain injuries likely from directed energy attacks by an unknown adversary

Washington, D.C.—After clearing Congress unanimously, legislation to support American public servants who have incurred brain injuries likely from directed energy attacks is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.  The Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act, which was authored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) along with Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), would authorize financial support and ensure medical care for injured individuals.  The Senate passed the HAVANA Act unanimously on June 7th and the House unanimously passed the bill this evening.

  

“Havana Syndrome” is the term given to an illness that surfaced among more than 40 U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba, beginning in 2016.  Since then, dozens more U.S. diplomats and members of the intelligence community at other locations have suffered symptoms “consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed, radiofrequency energy,” according to CIA Director William Burns.  Press reports indicate that some of these cases have occurred on U.S. soil.

 

More recently, press reports revealed that a member of CIA Director Burns’ team experienced Havana syndrome symptoms in India earlier this month.  Additionally, at least two U.S. officials stationed in Germany reportedly sought medical treatment after developing symptoms of “Havana Syndrome.”  Press is also reporting that approximately two dozen possible new cases have been reported in Vienna, more than in any other city except Havana itself.

 

Symptoms have included severe headaches, dizziness, tinnitus, visual and hearing problems, vertigo, and cognitive difficulties, and many affected personnel continue to suffer from health problems years after the attacks.  The HAVANA Act will give the CIA Director, the Secretary of State, and other agency heads additional authority to provide financial assistance to those suffering from brain injuries as a result of these attacks.

 

“Far too many ‘Havana Syndrome’ victims have had to battle the bureaucracy to receive care for their debilitating injuries,” said Senator Collins.  “I have spoken personally with some of the victims of these heinous attacks who were harmed while representing our interests.  For those victims, the HAVANA Act will ensure that they receive the financial and medical support that they deserve.  It also affirms our commitment to making sure that our government finds out who is responsible.”

 

“As we continue to look into the attacks on U.S. government personnel stationed abroad, we need to make sure that we’re providing appropriate support to American diplomats and intelligence officers injured in the line of duty,” said Senator Warner.  “This law will provide needed resources to the brave men and women of our Intelligence Community who put so much on the line to safeguard our democracy and our national security.”

 

“I am pleased to see the House of Representatives pass this important and bipartisan legislation, which will provide the CIA Director and the U.S. Secretary of State with the authorities needed to properly assist U.S. personnel who suffered attacks while serving our nation,” Senator Rubio said.  “There is no doubt that the victims who have suffered brain injuries must be provided with adequate care and compensation. Further, it is critical that our government continues the investigation to hold accountable those behind these attacks and that we immediately respond. I urge the President to sign this legislation as soon as possible.”

 

“U.S. personnel and their loved ones who’ve fallen victim to these directed energy attacks deserve access to the care they need to recover – full stop,” said Senator Shaheen.  “It’s unacceptable that so many public servants and their families have faced needless red tape in securing the medical attention they need to get well.  The HAVANA Act is commonsense, bipartisan legislation that will help right that wrong and break down the barriers that too many Americans have faced.  I’m glad to be part of the bipartisan group to deliver this legislation to the President’s desk and look forward to building on this progress in Congress to ensure our U.S. personnel can access the medical attention they need and to finally uncover the root cause of these attacks.”

  

The HAVANA Act will authorize the CIA Director and the Secretary of State to provide injured employees with additional financial support for brain injuries.  Both the CIA and State Department will be required to create regulations detailing fair and equitable criteria for payment.  This legislation will also require the CIA and State Department to report to Congress on how this authority is being used and if additional legislative or administrative action is required.  

 

Senators Collins, Warner, Rubio, and Shaheen’s bill was co-sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Angus King (I-ME), James Risch (R-ID), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Margaret Hassan (D-NH)

 

Click HERE to read the text of the bill.