In a letter to Secretary Blinken, Senators from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee writes “We believe this threat deserves the highest level of attention from the State Department, and remain concerned that the State Department is not treating this crisis with the requisite senior-level attention that it requires. “
Also that the Senators “continue to hear concerns that the Department is not sufficiently communicating with or responding to diplomats who have been injured from these attacks. We are also concerned that the Department is insufficiently engaged in interagency efforts to find the cause of these attacks, identify those responsible, and develop a plan to hold them accountable. “
The Senators urged a replacement for Ambassador Spratlen imediately:
“We urge you to immediately announce a successor to Ambassador Spratlen to lead the Department’s Health Incident Response Task Force. Critically, this post must be a senior-level official that reports directly to you. It is incumbent that this individual has the experience to engage effectively with affected individuals and with the interagency. As you know, pending bipartisan legislation in the Senate would require the Secretary to designate an agency coordinator for AHIs who reports directly to you. We ask that you take this step now to demonstrate that the State Department does take this matter seriously, and is coordinating an appropriate agency-level response.”
Finally, the senators write, “We wish to support the State Department and U.S. personnel through every means possible, and to support the Department in effectively addressing this national security threat. We look forward to receiving your response, and to your heightened engagement on this issue.”
The letter is available to read here.
The State Department has a response from the podium but we’ll save you the anguish of having to read the same thing all over again.
Just yesterday, we got another email in our inbox that says “Those DPB comments are utter bullshit.”
The spox did say that “… we want to make sure that those who have come forward are getting the care that they need. And I can give you quite a bit in terms of what our Bureau of Medical Services has done, including since January of this year, to ensure that those who come forward are getting that care.”
But …. but… how are they getting the care they need?
If folks can’t even get an email response from MED except for a form email?
At least there’s a form email, right?
But that feeling when you’re worried you may have a brain injury and you get a form email — apparently, that does not generate a warm feeling of WE’RE HERE FOR YOU, WE CARE.
The senators are right to remain concerned. Foggy Bottom typically responds to a few external pressures — the courts, the press, and yes, attentiveness from the Congress.
- #HavanaSyndrome at U.S. Embassy Bogotá: Who should be in the business of confirming these incidents?
- Havana Syndrome: Did the NSA Say It Was Crickets, Too, in 2014?
- UHI in the News: ‘Havana Syndrome’ and the Mystery of the Microwaves
- New Havana Syndrome Hotspots — U.S. Embassies in Germany and Austria
- @NewYorker: Vienna Is the New Havana Syndrome Hotspot
- Havana Syndrome Questions @StateDept Refuses to Answer
NEW: Big bipartisan gang of senators urges Blinken to tap new head of Havana Syndrome task force who reports directly to him. Senators say they’re concerned State isn’t taking this seriously enough
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) October 14, 2021
“People don't understand what this kind of brain damage can do to you,” Tina Onufer said. “So it's very easy for people to be dismissive and say, 'But you look fine.' But the reality is, I'm not.” https://t.co/Xy9jNcq22w
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 14, 2021
More than a dozen US officials who work at the US Embassy in Colombia and their family members have reported symptoms consistent with "Havana syndrome" in recent weeks, according to a US official and a source familiar with the situation. https://t.co/MxBzD258Cw
— CNN International (@cnni) October 13, 2021
The US embassy in Colombia is investigating several suspected cases of Havana Syndrome days before Secretary Blinken travels to Bogotá, according to officials & emails reviewed by WSJ.Scoop from me & @WSJForero. An entire family medivaced. 1 minor affected https://t.co/kgyyUcaLhw
— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) October 12, 2021
Germany investigates possible ‘sonic weapon attack’ against US embassy staff https://t.co/npDo4IQt2F
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) October 8, 2021
U.S. officials are probing two possible cases of so-called Havana Syndrome that delayed Vice President Kamala Harris' trip from Singapore to Vietnam. The Havana Syndrome is a set of mysterious health incidents first reported by American diplomats in 2016. https://t.co/4ZJMR2h3WJ
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 25, 2021