January 14, 2021

Van Hollen, Shaheen, Bipartisan Group of Senators Call on Pompeo to Detail How Administration Will Respond to Findings of Havana Syndrome Report

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this week in response to the findings of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that was recently released on brain injuries experience by public servants working abroad, calling on the State Department to provide additional information on the Department’s assessment of causation of these attacks and how the administration plans to prevent such attacks in the future. The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS).

Last month, the National Academy of Sciences released a report that examined brain injuries experienced by federal employees and their families while serving in China and Cuba, which has been referred to as ‘Havana Syndrome.’ The report was transferred to Congress following bipartisan calls from Shaheen, Van Hollen, and a number of their colleagues. Victims and public reports have indicated that these injuries are the result of attacks.

The Senators wrote, “…the implications of the report are even more unsettling, as it concludes that some type of pulsed radio frequency attack may have caused the mysterious injuries suffered by U.S. personnel serving abroad.  While the NAS report acknowledges that this finding is not conclusive, it casts serious doubt on several alternative explanations, and emphasizes that the mere possibility that these injuries were caused by an attack should be a cause for grave concern.” 

The Senators went on to list a series of questions for Secretary Pompeo to respond to regarding the causation, source and locations of the attacks. They closed their letter with a request that the Department take care of personnel who’ve been injured to ensure they have access to the treatment that they need. The Senators also reiterated the need to implement the recommendations of the NAS report and that there is a bipartisan commitment in Congress to act on those proposals. 

The full text of the letter is available here.