Shaheen, Gillibrand, Cotton and Collins Secure $30M in Funding and Access for Americans Affected by Directed Energy Attacks

July 23, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Susan Collins (R-ME) secured key provisions and funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that cleared the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, which would provide American government employees and their families suffering from symptoms of directed energy attacks, also referred to as “Havana Syndrome,” access to the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed. These provisions were included in the WIRe Act introduced by the four Senators in May 2021. 

“For years I’ve been working to increase access to medical benefits and care for public servants and their loved ones who’ve been affected by directed energy attacks. After all they’ve been through, they shouldn’t face the additional burden of attaining the care they need and deserve to get well. I appreciate the bipartisan determination in Congress to right this wrong and I’m glad to partner with Senators Gillibrand, Cotton and Collins on legislation to build on that progress,” said Senator Shaheen. “The National Academy of Sciences report informed us that swift action is critical in helping those who’ve been victimized by these attacks, which is why The WIRe Act – which will allow those afflicted to access care at Walter Reed facilities for medical treatment – is so important. This is a necessary step to help those who’ve been affected, but much work remains. I’ll keep up the pressure to deliver the assistance our public servants and their loved ones need to get well and will stop at nothing to uncover the causation of these attacks.”

“In the past several years, U.S. government employees and their families have experienced attacks that have left them suffering from symptoms of ‘Havana Syndrome,’ which include headaches, memory problems and brain damage,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud that this year’s NDAA includes the bipartisan Walter Reed Injury Recovery (WIRE) Act, which will ensure that those suffering from Havana Syndrome can receive care at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed, the nation’s top facility for treating such injuries. This important legislation honors our commitment to the men and women who bravely serve our country.”

“Brave Americans wounded in the service of our country deserve every measure of our support,” said Senator Cotton. “I’m proud of this important provision is included in the NDAA as part of a long campaign to care for the men and women who protect us every day and hold their attackers responsible.”

“It is unacceptable that some victims of probable directed energy attacks did not receive the medical support they should have expected from our government when they were injured,” said Senator Collins. “American personnel who have undergone these attacks while serving our country should be treated the same way we would treat a soldier who suffered a traumatic injury on the battlefield. Walter Reed Medical Center has a world-renowned treatment center for TBIs, and I am pleased that our bipartisan provision in the NDAA would ensure non-DOD personnel have prompt access to this top-notch care.”

Additionally, the Senators secured $30 million in the Senate FY 2022 NDAA for the Defense Health Program in order to improve treatment for victims of directed energy attacks. Shaheen also added other provisions in the defense legislation to address directed energy attacks, including language that would mandate greater congressional oversight on directed energy attack-related items by requiring quarterly reports to Congress on the ongoing investigation into causation, mitigation efforts and treatment of personnel. Shaheen’s provision also extensively speaks about the threat posed by these incidents, the importance of providing equitable and accessible care to victims, the need to develop and promulgate workforce guidance to protect Department of Defense personnel and their families, and urges the President to designate a senior official to lead the interagency response.

Senator Shaheen has stood by government employees and their families who have suffered from these mysterious injuries, and leads efforts in Congress to provide them critical health benefits. In the FY2021 NDAA that became law, Shaheen successfully included language to expand a provision in law that she previously wrote to provide long-term, emergency care benefits to all U.S. Government employees and their dependents who were mysteriously injured while working in China and Cuba. Shaheen’s measure to amend the law followed her letter with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) last May calling on the administration to interpret the law as intended by Congress.

On the TODAY Show last year, Shaheen responded to the findings of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on these injuries and underscored the urgent need to take action to address these attacks that have targeted American public servants and their families. Despite Shaheen’s calls for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to come before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to address what the Trump administration was doing to uncover the source of these attacks and protect American public servants, Pompeo never appeared. Pompeo also never responded to bipartisan calls in the Senate led by Shaheen to detail how the Trump administration would respond to the findings of the NAS report. During Secretary of State Blinken’s confirmation hearing, Shaheen reiterated that uncovering the causation of these attacks and assisting those who’ve been injured must be top priorities for the Biden administration. In February, Shaheen spoke with CNN in an exclusive interview on developments to uncover the source of targeted directed energy attacks against U.S. personnel and their families.