Biden wants to know ‘who is responsible’ for Havana Syndrome

President Joe Biden said Friday it was a “top priority” to determine who is responsible for a series of mysterious health incidents affecting U.S. personnel, widely known as “La syndrome. Havana “.

“We are using all of the resources of the U.S. government to provide first-class medical care and shed light on these incidents to those affected, including to determine the cause and who is responsible,” Biden said in a statement. communicated. after enacting the American Neurological Attack Victim Assistance Act 2021 or the HAVANA Act.

The new law will subsidize victim care and require the administration to report to Congress on the episodes. “Officials, intelligence officers, diplomats and military personnel around the world have been affected by abnormal health incidents,” Biden said.

The federal government has not concluded whether the incidents are deliberate attacks on US personnel. But CIA Director Bill Burns called them attacks, and members of the Biden administration privately suspect the health episodes were caused by targeted energy attacks from a foreign power.

“Protecting Americans and all who serve our country is our first duty,” Biden said.

More than 200 cases have been reported, with US personnel stationed overseas and national security officials in Washington describing symptoms of sudden dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and headache. Some were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The public first became aware of the phenomenon after a cluster of cases among U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers at the U.S. Embassy in Havana came to light in 2016.

“Some are struggling with debilitating brain injuries that have curtailed their careers in service to our nation,” Biden said. “Resolving these incidents has been a top priority for my administration. “

The media did not have access to the signing ceremony which was attended by several lawmakers, including Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, D-Calif., And Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

“I have spoken personally with victims of Havana Syndrome who have been forced to fight bureaucracy while dealing with their own health issues. Those Americans who suffered traumatic brain injuries from probable directed energy attacks while serving our country should have been treated the same way we would treat a soldier who suffered a traumatic brain injury on the battlefield, ” Collins said in a statement.

“As we continue our efforts to support the victims, we must also redouble our whole-of-government approach to identify and stop the heartless adversary who is harming US personnel,” she said.

This story was originally published 8 October 2021 10:16 a.m.

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Michael Wilner is McClatchy’s senior correspondent for national security and the White House. A member of the White House team since 2019, he has led coverage of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Wilner was previously Washington bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is originally from New York.

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