President Biden signed a bill On Friday it will authorize additional assistance for diplomats and government officials who have suffered brain injuries overseas in a series of unexplained health episodes prior to 2016.
why it matters: more than 200 Americans have Come forward With symptoms associated with the so-called “Havana syndrome”, which was first experienced by US diplomats in Cuba, but has since been reported in China and Europe. Some officials have complained that they have not received adequate treatment from the State Department.
What are they saying: Biden said in a statement: “Civil servants, intelligence officers, diplomats and military personnel around the world have been affected by unusual health events. Some are battling brain injuries that have curtailed their careers of serving our country. reduced.”
- “We are bringing the full resources of the US government to provide first-class medical care to those affected and to get to the bottom of these incidents, including determining the cause and who is responsible.”
- The bill was written by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Main) and co-sponsored by Censor. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Gene Shaheen (D.N.H.), who each attended Friday’s signing ceremony at the White House.
running news: On Monday, hours before Biden signed the bill, the German newspaper Der Spiegel informed of Police have launched an investigation into alleged cases of Havana syndrome among US embassy staff in Berlin.
- A member of the staff of CIA Director Bill Burns reported symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome during a visit to India in September and had to receive emergency treatment, CNN told.
- Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Vietnam in August was delayed for several hours.unexplained health events“The information was received at the US Embassy in Hanoi.
big picture: The cause of the brain injuries is currently unknown, but experts float the possibility of microwave radiation attacks directed by American opponents, infectious diseases, insecticide exposure, distinctive cricket noises and widespread psychological illness.
- A scientific review commissioned by the State Department in 2018 assessed that the injuries were “most likely” caused by insects, not targeted energy attacks, Buzzfeed News reported This week. Dozens more cases have been reported since that assessment.
- burns is tapped A senior CIA official helped lead the operation to find Osama bin Laden, leading a task force investigating the causes of Havana syndrome. But the US government has not yet responded, Secretary of State Antony Blinken accepted in August.