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Senator Collins Secures Funding for HAVANA Act in Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that she secured funding to implement the HAVANA Act and assist Havana Syndrome victims in the draft Department of Defense Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022.  She also included committee report language in the Department of State Appropriations bill directing the Department to adequately fund assistance for State Department personnel and their family who have been impacted by Havana Syndrome.  The bills must still be voted on by the full Senate and House. 


The HAVANA Act, which was authored by Senator Collins and signed into law on October 8th, authorizes the Director of the CIA and the Secretary of State to provide additional financial support for American public servants who have incurred brain injuries likely from directed energy attacks.  The law requires both the CIA and State Department to create regulations detailing fair and equitable criteria for payments.


“U.S. diplomats and members of the intelligence community who work both at home and abroad make many personal sacrifices to represent and protect America’s interests.  They deserve our strong support when they are harmed in the line of duty just as we care for our soldiers when they are injured on the battlefield,” said Senator Collins.  “As the government investigates the source of previous attacks and seeks to prevent future ones, the HAVANA Act I authored will provide critical relief to Americans who are experiencing debilitating symptoms likely caused by a directed energy weapon.  I will continue to push for the full implementation and funding of the HAVANA Act during the ongoing Appropriations process to ensure that victims receive the support they deserve.”


Following Senator Collins’ advocacy, the Defense Appropriations bill includes funding to begin making these payments authorized by the HAVANA Act.  In addition, the Department of State Appropriations bill includes report language championed by Senator Collins directing the Secretary of State to adequately fund assistance for Havana Syndrome and detail the Department’s efforts to address the incidents.   The bill stipulates that a report must be given to Congress within 180 days that 1) details the Department of State’s actions to investigate and monitor cases, 2) estimates the number of people who have been afflicted, 3) describes the actions that have been taken to counter these attacks, and 4) provides an update on the personnel and family members who have received support for impacted personnel and family members, including for healthcare needs.


“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, upwards of 200 intelligence community personnel, State Department employees, and others have reportedly been afflicted with symptoms that a study by the National Academy of Sciences found are consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed, radiofrequency energy.  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.