“I’m delighted that the Senate has shown that it cares about these officials and wants to make sure they get the medical care and compensation they need,” said Collins, a senior member of the Intelligence Committee.
The Intelligence Committee has heard of several victims of the mysterious attacks who “struggled” with the federal government to get adequate medical treatment, Collins said.
“Anyone who has spoken to them would be appalled to learn that these officers, who in many cases serve in difficult or dangerous environments, find it difficult to be cared for after being attacked with this weapon by an unknown enemy . ”She added in a short interview.
The bill clears funding for the treatment of illnesses related to the attacks and gives the CIA director and foreign minister greater discretion in how the money is used. The law also requires both the CIA and the State Department to keep Congress updated on how the funds are being used – a nod to lawmakers’ longstanding frustration with intelligence officials over what they see as a year-long failure to properly address the matter.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers across the Capitol, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif. And his GOP colleague Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Recently tabled an accompanying bill that soon hit the house floor.
US officials have long been baffled by the alleged attacks and associated symptoms, including intense ringing and pressure in the ears, impaired vision and hearing, loss of balance and other cognitive skills, and permanent brain damage. Officials across the government have also made efforts to learn more about the specific type of weapon that directs highly concentrated electromagnetic energy onto a victim.
The attacks were first spotted in Havana, Cuba, in 2016, where dozens of American diplomats were sidelined, sparking an extensive investigation by the US government. The resulting disease became known as “Havana Syndrome”.
Over the past year, US officials have seen a sharp increase in similar incidents affecting American personnel in different countries and, for the first time, directly at home. A National Security Council official was reportedly struck by a targeted energy attack while walking on the Ellipse, the lawn south of the White House; two other NSC officials were recently met near their homes outside of Washington.
US intelligence agencies have not officially established who is responsible for the alleged attacks, which are extremely difficult to identify due to their “invisible” nature. However, government officials have told lawmakers that they believe Russia’s military intelligence unit, the GRU, is responsible, POLITICO first reported.
The US government has significantly expanded its investigations in recent months to include the entire intelligence service in addition to the National Institutes of Health. Just last week, a senior State Department official referred people reporting symptoms related to Havana Syndrome to the NIH, which, according to a congressional official informed of the investigation, has played a “leading role” in analyzing symptoms.
“The next step is to keep finding out who’s doing this,” said Collins.
Warner and his counterpart at the head of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Have vowed to “investigate” the alleged attacks, and CIA Director William Burns receives daily updates on the state of the government’s investigation.
Americans diagnosed with the traumatic brain injuries have begun to raise the alarm over the alleged attacks and the lackluster response by the federal government.
Marc Polymeropoulos, who had served with the CIA for 26 years, including senior positions in covert operations, suffered from debilitating symptoms of an alleged targeted energy attack while on duty in Moscow in December 2017. Polymeropoulos said the CIA and other government agencies initially did not take his concerns seriously.
“It is an emotional time for many of the victims, who have suffered not only from the moral harm of the denial of their respective national security institutions, the pain and suffering of their invisible wounds, but also from the fact that they have sometimes paid thousands of dollars have. “Purse for your own health care,“ said Polymeropoulos in an interview. “We are deeply grateful to Senator Collins and many other Senators for their unremitting efforts that have led to this day.”
The most recent iterations of Congress’s annual Intelligence Authorization Act and the National Defense Authorization Act have looked at the medical treatment of people like Polymeropoulos, but the measure the Senate passed on Monday is the most significant expansion of that effort yet. Collins and other lawmakers continue to seek to ensure that victims of the alleged attacks also have access to the Brain Injury Department at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.