The questions below were sent to the State Department on March 16, 2021 for Ambassador Pamela Spratlen, the newly designated Senior Advisor to the Havana Syndrome Task Force (officially called the Health Incident Response Task Force (HIRTF) . She was appointed with direct reporting responsibility to the Department’s senior leadership. The State Department’s media arm confirmed receipt of these questions on March 17.
To-date, the State Department has not responded to these questions despite our follow-up. It looks like the PA leadership has fed our questions to their email-chewing doggo. Poor bow wow!!! PA folks still sore about this, hey? Inside @StateDept: Leaked Cable Provides Guidance For ‘America First’ Cost Savings Initiatives. Oh, dear!
Anyways. If you’re the unofficial kind and have some answers to these questions, please send your howlers here or via Twitter and we’ll get back to you. We’ll write as many follow-up posts as needed.
—1. The State Department spokesperson said that there is an individual on the Health Incident Response Task Force (HIRTF) who is responsible solely for engaging with those who may have been victims of these incidents. The individual was not publicly named. I understand that the 41 recognized victims apparently also have no idea who this individual is or who are the members of the task force. Shouldn’t the State Department be transparent and name all the people on the task force? How do potential victims, (including spouses and foreign nationals) contact the individual tasked with engaging with them?
—2. The ARB Cuba report clearly demonstrates the botched response to these incidents in Havana. It was also an interim report. In addition, we have received allegations that the Department’s response to the incidents in China was much worse. Are there plans to convene an ARB for China? Is there a plan to expand the time frame and places of possible incidents covered in this investigation? We are aware of at least one case that occurred much earlier than December 2016. How many reported cases of mystery illness were excluded by State? With so many varied symptoms, and many unknowns, is it fair to rule out anyone without the full constellation of symptoms? How did the State Department determine that Patient Zero, widely reported to have been injured in December 2016, is really Patient Zero and not Patient Two, or Patient 10 or Patient 20?
—3. What is the status of the implementation of the ARB Cuba recommendations?
—4. Can you confirm that the mystery illness has been reported domestically (WH staffer in Arlington, a couple at UPENN)?
—5. There were employee/s who suffered grievous treatment in the aftermath of these incidents (e.g. alleged retaliation, uncovered medical expenses). Is Amb Spratlen willing to meet with employees suffering from medical and bureaucratic chaos brought about by these incidents?
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report:
—6. I recognized that there is new leadership at State but the HIRTF has been there since 2018. Why did State sit on the NAS report of August 2020 and only released it in December 2020? It is an unclassified report, so national security concerns should not have been an issue.
—7. Has the State Department accepted that the illness is due to microwave exposure? If so, how are employees protected from the next attacks? Why hasn’t State fully implemented the recommendations in the NAS report?
Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and Bureau of Medical Services (MED)
—8. Why is Diplomatic Security still acting (and conducting searches in apartments) as if the cause could be toxic chemicals when NAS ruled out chemical exposure as a cause and pointed to the reported signs, symptoms and observations as consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy?
—9. Why is Diplomatic Security still conducting briefings that “only one person was found by State/MED to be affected in China” when USG has officially diagnosed 15?
—10. How many employees who complained of unexplained illness to MED or DS were told to undergo psych evaluations or told to “get their act together” by the bureaus tasked with protecting their welfare? How many mystery illness were reported globally by employees, family members and local employees before State took them seriously?
3 FAM 3660 Implementation
—11. 3 FAM 3660 has been in the Foreign Affairs Manual since May 2020 but we’ve heard reports that State is blocking implementation of the prescribed benefits for employees from other agencies. Can you discuss where the responsibility for adjudicating cases under the provisions of 3 FAM 3660 falls? What is the processing time for requests made under these regulations for State and non-State employees?
—12. There are numerous employees and family members as you know who still have symptoms but because they are not in the group of 41, they do not qualify for the 3 FAM 3660 provisions and therefore are on their own. What are the treatment options for the hundreds of employees/family members who were medevaced but were not enrolled like the 41 cases in the UPenn study and designated by Department of Labor to get workers compensation benefits?
—13. How many foreign nationals connected with USG missions/residences where the attacks occurred reported similar symptoms as USG American employees and family members? What support and treatment options were available to them?
—14. As you know, under 3 FAM 3660, a covered employee is an employee of the Department of State who, on or after January 1, 2016, becomes injured by reason of a qualifying injury and was assigned to a duty station in the Republic of Cuba, the People’s Republic of China, or another foreign country as designated by the Secretary of State. What other countries have been designated by the Secretary of State under 3 FAM 3666 to-date?
—15. Members of the 41 officially diagnosed say State has caused irreparable harm with a “see no evil” response and just wants the problem to go away. Do you recognize the harm of State’s botched past response and lack of transparency?
—16. “A” being the highest and “F” being failing, how would you grade the previous State Department leadership’s response to the health incidents?
–17. Why not expand the mandate of Ambassador Spratlen to include instances of previous microwave attacks, since those episodes were handled so badly by the State Department? Here is a little background: https://shoeone.blogspot.com/2013/09/moscow-microwaves.html
- @StateDept Designates Amb. Pamela Spratlen as Senior Advisor to the Havana Syndrome Task Force March 2021
- Inbox: Are there treatments that work? #HavanaSyndrome March 2021
- @StateDept Updates FAM For Individuals Serving as Designated Chiefs of Mission March 2021
- Mystery Illness: “a much larger scale and widespread attack against our diplomatic corps, and our families” March 2021
- Oh ARB China, Where Art Thou? Feb 2021
- Havana Syndrome: @StateDept Says Investigation “Ongoing and Is a High Priority” Feb 2021
- ARB on Havana Syndrome Response: Pray Tell, Who Was in Charge? Feb 2021
- @StateDept’s Mystery Illness: The “It Depends” Treatment of Injured Personnel Oct 2020
- @StateDept Updates Regulations to Include New Compensation For Certain Injuries #MysteryIllness #TheThing July 2020
- Wait, they want an employee to “prove causation” for a mystery illness? July 2019
- The Havana Syndrome in the News, and Some Questions For Foggy Bottom’s New “M” June 2019
- Mystery Illness: @StateDept Raising Doubt About 14 China Cases #TheThing March 2019
- Yo! The Thing. Still Going on in China? Dec 2018
- Is @StateDept Working to Minimize the Health Attacks in China? #Cuba #MissingARBs Oct 2018
- What did we miss? USCG Guangzhou Security Engineering Officer Mark Lenzi Disputes State Department Statement on Mystery Illness July 2018
- U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou – What’s Going On? May 2018
- Can sound be used as a weapon? 4 questions answered #USEmbassyHavana March 2018
- Dusting Off the Moscow Microwave Biostatistical Study, Have a Read Sept 2017
- U.S. Diplomats in Cuba Sonic Attacks: As Serious as Mild TBI/Central Nervous System Damage? August 24, 2017
- 16 USG Employees in “Sonic Attack” and More on The Secret History of Diplomats and Invisible Weapons August 28, 2017)
- Microwaving U.S. Embassy Moscow: Oral History From FSOs James Schumaker and William A. Brown August 29, 2017