Sen. Susan Collins called on President Biden to use the upcoming Russia summit to ask about the origin of suspected directed energy attacks, causing what’s known as Havana Syndrome, targeting U.S. officials around the globe, including on U.S. soil.
Ms. Collins’ remarks from the Senate floor Tuesday followed the chamber’s unanimous vote late Monday to pass the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act, legislation she co-sponsored aimed at providing financial support to those injured by the attacks.
“We need a whole-of-government approach to identify the adversary who is targeting our American personnel,” said Ms. Collins, who is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“I hope that when President Biden meets with President [Vladimir] Putin, that he will ask President Putin about these attacks, that he will grill him about them to see if the Russians are responsible,” she added.
As The Washington Times reported last week, no official determination has been made on who is behind the attacks, which began being reported in 2016 by U.S. personnel in Cuba, though some have speculated that Russia is behind the attacks.
Marc Polymeropoulos, a senior CIA case officer who retired in 2019 after battling debilitating symptoms stemming from a suspected directed energy attack while in his hotel room during a routine trip to Moscow in 2017, told The Times last week that he has little doubt Russia is behind the attacks.
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“There has been a long line of U.S. officials who have developed some pretty severe health symptoms after serving in Moscow,” he said
“That’s something that is worth looking into again as well. Whether it’s the old kind of signals intelligence systems that were turned up too high or the old spy dust, you know, the Russians are very aggressive against U.S. government personnel,” he said.
The State Department, CIA, and Pentagon have all started investigations into the suspected attacks, and the National Security Council is leading a broad inquiry into the attacks across government agencies.
“The Intelligence Community is taking these anomalous health incidents (AHI) very seriously and is committed to investigating the source of these incidents, preventing them from continuing, and caring for those affected,” a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told The Times last week.
After the diagnoses of more than 40 cases from Havana, the number of U.S. officials around the globe reporting symptoms swelled to 130, some of the suspected attacks happening on American soil.
“There is no doubt that the victims who have suffered brain injuries must be provided with adequate care and compensation,” Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-sponsor of the HAVANA Act, said Monday following the vote. “Further, it is critical that our government determine who is behind these attacks and that we respond.”
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Mr. Biden is slated to meet with Mr. Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16 during the new U.S. president’s first official foreign trip.