BREAKING: Shaheen Discloses Letter Featured in 60 Minutes Report Regarding U.S. Officials Who Had Served in China and Experienced Symptoms Similar to Traumatic Brain Injury Potentially From an Attack
**SHAHEEN LETTER TO SECRETARY POMPEO: “Re-examine the cases from China … and provide all injured personnel with equal access to treatment, leave and benefits”
**Shaheen letter recognizes that the source of these symptoms could potentially be from an attack, and confronts the agency for the disturbing way in which these cases have been handled**
**Senator Shaheen sent the letter after she met with one of the State Department officials featured in the report who now lives in New Hampshire**
(Washington, DC)—A letter sent by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Armed Services Committee, to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was featured in an alarming CBS 60 Minutes report this evening. The report highlights U.S. government employees who have worked in China and have experienced symptoms similar to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that are potentially the result of an attack. Their symptoms appear to match those of U.S. diplomats working in Havana, Cuba. The 60 Minutes report focuses on the first-hand accounts of the diplomats and the disparate treatment they’ve received compared to U.S. officials in Cuba, despite remarkable similarities in their cases.
In late January, Senator Shaheen met with Mark Lenzi, a New Hampshire resident, who is one of the U.S. officials who worked in China and is experiencing symptoms similar to TBI. Mr. Lenzi is also featured in the 60 Minutes report. Soon after their conversation and other discussions between Shaheen’s staff and other employees who were based in China and have TBI-like symptoms, Senator Shaheen sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo which was featured in the 60 Minutes report.
Senator Shaheen’s letter reads in part, “Despite stark similarities between the experiences and symptoms of those injured in both Cuba and China, the State Department, to date, has confirmed only one case from China … The State Department’s perplexing response has resulted in disparate treatment regarding leave, medical benefits and travel between the two groups of employees, potential adverse security clearance actions and a dangerous lack of information regarding the causation and potential prevention of these attacks.”
The letter points out the disturbing way the agency has handled the cases of employees who served in China: “Many employees who were evacuated from China were also denied access to their own medical test results, and some were even chastised for visiting doctors outside of those suggested by the State Department.”
The letter continues, “I ask that you immediately instruct the Bureau of Medical Services to re-examine the cases from China, allow all affected individuals to see the results of their own medical tests and ensure that the same standards are being used to confirm and treat all reported cases. The State Department must also adhere to the commitments it made … and provide all injured personnel with equal access to treatment, leave and benefits in order to help them and their families recover as soon as possible.”
The letter also calls for all relevant State Department officials to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on this issue. As yet, the State Department has not responded to these requests.
Full text of the letter is available here.