The Senate on Monday passed a bill from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins that would make it easier for federal employees who suffered brain injuries after mysterious energy-directed attacks to access medical care.
Collins, a Maine Republican and senior member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, told POLITICO she was “pleased” the Senate had passed the legislation, saying “I want to ensure that they get the medical care and the compensation that they need.”
“Anyone who’s talked with them would be appalled to learn that these public servants, who in many cases are serving in difficult or dangerous environments, were having a hard time getting care after they’ve been attacked by this weapon by an unknown adversary,” Collins said.
The victims faced difficulties in getting their agencies to take their injuries seriously, prompting Collins and Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, to draft the bill, according to Politico.
The legislation grants funding to treat illnesses stemming from the attacks and gives the CIA director and secretary of state increased authority to oversee how the funding is spent, while requiring them to regularly keep Congress informed about the spending.
The senators’ House Intelligence Committee counterparts recently introduced a companion bill that’s expected to soon reach the chamber floor.
For several years, American diplomats and intelligence officials have reported symptoms such as pressure and ringing in the ears, vision and hearing impairments, and loss of cognitive abilities, including balance.
It’s believed that weapons that zap the victims with highly concentrated electromagnetic energy are responsible for the attacks.
The U.S. hasn’t determined who’s behind the attacks, but the Biden administration suspects the GRU, a Russian intelligence agency, according to Politico.
The affliction was first reported among dozens of U.S. employees serving in Havana, Cuba, prompting its “Havana Syndrome” moniker.
Military troops in Syria, a CIA officer in Moscow and a National Security Council employee who was walking on the White House Ellipse south lawn also reported suffering injuries.