(CNN)A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled legislation to boost medical care for those afflicted with “Havana syndrome,” charging that the Trump administration failed to do enough to care for CIA officers and State Department diplomats struck by the inexplicable illness.
Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee introduced a bill on Thursday that would authorize the CIA and the State Department to provide injured employees with more financial support for brain injuries
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, is introducing a companion measure in the lower chamber.
While an initial wave of incidents beginning in 2016 affected US personnel abroad in Cuba, China and Russia, there have been new possible cases reported on US soil — including two potential incidents CNN first reported that occurred late last year near the White House. The Senate Intelligence Committee said last month that the number of incidents where US officials have suffered mysterious symptoms consistent with “Havana syndrome” appeared to be increasing.
Federal investigators have struggled for years to understand who or what was causing the strange array of symptoms and sensory experiences that some diplomats and intelligence officers were reporting while stationed overseas — including vertigo, headaches, nausea and sometimes a “piercing directional noise.” Some victims of these episodes have suffered lingering and serious health problems, including traumatic brain injury, and have been forced to retire from service.
Several victims and former officials have publicly accused the CIA and the State Department under Trump of failing to take their injuries seriously. One official with direct knowledge of incidents said that victims who reported were treated as if they were “crazy.”
Until recently, victims were denied medical care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health, forcing them to muddle through a series of physicians in the private sector to try to find a diagnosis — and relief — for their ongoing symptoms
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