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Rubio-Sponsored Bill to Support ‘Havana Syndrome’ Victims Signed Into Law

Oct 8, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME), and other colleagues released statements after President Joe Biden signed their Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act (S. 1828) into law. The new law authorizes financial support and ensures medical care for American public servants who have suffered brain injuries from probable directed energy attacks. 
 
Rubio and Collins were joined by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in authoring the bill. The 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), Jim Risch (R-ID), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
 
Rubio is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
 
“As American diplomats and personnel continue to be targets of directed energy attacks by malign actors and rogue states, I’m proud to see my bipartisan initiative become law,” Rubio said.  “We need to stand in support of our diplomatic corps, and their relatives, as they face long-term health challenges and demand that those who are responsible face justice.”
 
“I have spoken personally with Havana Syndrome victims who were forced to battle the bureaucracy while dealing with their own mounting health challenges. These Americans who experienced traumatic brain injuries from likely directed energy attacks while serving our country should have been treated the same way we treat a soldier who suffered a traumatic brain injury on the battlefield,” Collins said. “Now that the HAVANA Act has been signed into law, Havana Syndrome victims will finally receive the financial assistance and medical support that they deserve. As we continue our efforts to support victims, we must also redouble our whole-of-government approach to identify and stop the heartless adversary who is harming U.S. personnel.”
 
“Every day, American diplomats and intelligence officers around the world put themselves at risk to keep our nation safe. In return, we have an obligation to provide ample support when these brave men and women are injured in the line of duty,” Warner said. “As the Senate Intelligence Committee continues to look into the mysterious and debilitating attacks on U.S. personnel abroad, I’m proud to know that these officials will now be able to count on the compensation and care they deserve, thanks to President Biden’s signing of our Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act.”
 
“For far too long, U.S. public servants and their loved ones who’ve suffered from directed energy attacks have been denied the care they need and deserve. That’s unacceptable, and is why I’ve partnered with Senator Collins and this bipartisan group of lawmakers to ensure affected Americans have access to long-term, emergency health benefits,” Shaheen said. “By removing barriers to critical medical attention and paving the way for personnel with brain injuries to recover, the HAVANA Act is an important step forward. I’m very pleased President Biden has signed our bipartisan legislation into law, and I’ll continue to fight to get to the bottom of these attacks and protect our national security.”
 
Background: 
“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 around the world 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. Last week, it was reported that a CIA intelligence officer was evacuated from Serbia in recent weeks after suffering from Havana Syndrome symptoms. 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.
 
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.