Bennet, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Bill to Support Victims of ‘Havana Syndrome’

The Legislation Would Support U.S. Diplomatic Staff and Others Who Have Suffered Head Injuries From Probable Directed Energy Attacks in Cuba, China, And Elsewhere

Washington, D.C.— Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act in a bipartisan effort to support American public servants who have incurred brain injuries from probable microwave attacks. This legislation would authorize additional financial support for injured individuals. 

“Havana Syndrome” is the term given to an illness that first surfaced among more than 40 U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba, beginning in 2016. Since then, at least a dozen U.S. diplomats at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou suffered symptoms “consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed, radiofrequency energy,” and there have been according to the press more than 130 total cases among American personnel, including on U.S. soil.  Ailments have included dizziness, tinnitus, visual problems, vertigo, and cognitive difficulties, and many affected personnel continue to suffer from health problems years later. The HAVANA Act would give the CIA Director and the Secretary of State additional authority to provide financial support to those suffering from brain injuries as a result of these attacks.

“We have a responsibility to ensure government officials who are injured in the line of duty have access to the care they need,” said Bennet. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure treatment for public servants and their families who sustain traumatic brain injuries while working on behalf of our country, and will help modernize the way we confront evolving threats to our personnel.”

The HAVANA Act would 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 would be required to create regulations detailing fair and equitable criteria for payment.  This legislation would 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. 

In addition to Bennet, this legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Angus King (I-Maine), and James Risch (R-Idaho).

The bill text is available HERE.