U.S. House Passes Shaheen-Backed Legislation to Support ‘Havana Syndrome’ Victims

September 21, 2021

 

**The legislation led by Senators Shaheen, Collins, Warner and Rubio now heads to the President’s desk and would support U.S. Intelligence and Diplomatic staff who have suffered brain injuries likely from directed energy attacks**

(Washington, DC) – After clearing the House of Representatives today, 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, authored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), would authorize financial support and ensure medical care for injured individuals. The Senate previously passed the HAVANA Act unanimously in June. 

“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.” 

“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.” 

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.   

Symptoms of these directed energy attacks 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. 

Senators Shaheen, Collins, Warner and Rubio’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 Maggie Hassan (D-NH) 

Click HERE to read the text of the bill. 

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. Last month, she introduced new bipartisan legislation, the Directed Energy Threat Emergency Response Act, with Senator Susan Collins to reform the U.S. government’s investigation and response to suspected directed energy attacks and improve access to care for impacted individuals. Specifically, the bill would require the President to designate a senior national security official to organize a whole-of-government response and direct the heads of relevant agencies to designate senior officials to lead their agency’s response. 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) in May 2020 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.