Some American diplomats and intelligence officers suffering from the rules published by the State Department on Friday. Though the guidelines are a step forward for those , concerns about disparate treatment of victims of the poorly understood condition persist.known as Havana Syndrome may be eligible for federal compensation ranging from about $140,000 to $187,000, according to draft
According to the State Department’s text, current employees, former employeeswho have “qualifying injuries to the brain” may be eligible for a non-taxable, one-time, lump sum payment pegged to senior government salary levels.
The base level payout is currently $140,475. Victims who demonstrate no reemployment potential, have been approved for Social Security Disability Insurance or require a full-time caregiver can receive up to $187,300. Those amounts, like federal salary levels, could change over time.
The guidelines were required byby Congress and signed by President Biden last year known as the HAVANA Act, which authorized funds for victim compensation and tasked federal agencies with regularly updating lawmakers on reported cases. The legislation allowed the State Department, CIA and other agencies with affected personnel to establish their own eligibility criteria for compensation. That compensation is not related to or a replacement for the provision of medical care for victims, U.S. officials stressed.
While the CIA has also established its own criteria for affected personnel, they remain classified. People familiar with the matter said the agency’s guidelines were fairly similar to those drafted by the State Department, and that there would be internal processes in place to connect with former employees interested in reviewing the criteria and determining their eligibility.
“CIA developed guidelines in partnership with the interagency, as part of a process coordinated through the National Security Council, and is beginning to implement these authorities,” said CIA Director of Public Affairs Tammy Thorp. “We are grateful to Congress for continuing to support CIA’s workforce including through the HAVANA Act.”
Symptoms of Havana Syndrome can include intense headaches, nausea, vertigo, tinnitus and cognitive difficulties. The syndrome was first identified among U.S. and Canadian officials stationed in Havana, Cuba, in 2016, and has no known cause. Several government-led inquiries have determined directed radiofrequency energy to be the most plausible source of the condition, and deemed it unlikely to be psychosomatic or attributable to mass hysteria.
Some victims and lawmakers are convinced the incidents are the result of intentional attacks by a hostile government using directed-energy technology, though no definitive public evidence has emerged to confirm that view.
The illness, instances of which the Biden administration refers to as “Anomalous Health Incidents,” received intensified focus as dozens – and then hundreds – of new cases were reported by American soldiers, diplomats and intelligence officers serving overseas in recent years. Reports have been made from every populated continent – sometimes coming in dozens at a time – to total about 1,000, cumulatively, since 2016.
Investigators have since found alternative explanations for the majority of those cases, and have narrowed their focus to a handful of incidents that remain unexplained. In some of the most severe cases, American officials have suffered neurological symptoms so debilitating they were forced to end their careers.
Once the State…