McCaul on Attacks on U.S. Personnel Abroad: “This is Scary Stuff. Our Personnel Need to Know We Have Their Backs”Blog
Washington, DC – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul spoke on the House floor today in support of the bipartisan HAVANA Act. This bill will provide authority to Congress to help American personnel and diplomats facing chronic damage and health incidents as a result of attacks here at home and abroad.
“What first started in Havana in late 2016 spread to China in 2017. Two months ago, press reports described more than 130 possible cases all over the world. Including right here in Washington, DC. And just last week, two dozen new cases among U.S. personnel in Vienna were revealed. Simply put, this is scary stuff.”
“The people attacking us need to know the consequences will be severe when we find out who they are when we get the attribution…The men and women who serve our nation overseas deserve no less.”
-Remarks as Delivered-
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Around the world, American personnel are being attacked in their homes, in hotels, and even on public streets. For most, it starts with what seems like a loud noise. That’s followed by pain or a sense of pressure in the head.
Many are left with chronic damage including: hearing loss, vertigo, cognitive and motor impairment, severe headaches, and inability to sleep.
In the words of a recent press report, our diplomats are suffering a, quote ‘concussion without a concussion.’ The Senate-passed bill before us today provides important authority to assist these brain injury victims. It deserves our unanimous support.
But we all must do more.
Unfortunately, these attacks have continued and spread. What first started in Havana in late 2016 spread to China in 2017. Two months ago, press reports described more than 130 possible cases all over the world. Including right here in Washington, DC. And just last week, two dozen new cases among U.S. personnel in Vienna were revealed.
Simply put, this is scary stuff.
The people who serve our nation overseas are genuinely worried for themselves and their families. They need to know we have their backs.
When the prior Administration pulled our personnel out of Havana four years ago, they said, quote ‘numerous Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks. These employees have suffered significant injuries as a consequence of these attacks.’
In contrast, President Biden has refused to call these what they are – attacks on U.S. personnel. And Secretary of State Tony Blinken publicly said, perhaps no one is responsible for causing these injuries.
We may not be able to fill in all the blanks yet. But we know too much to dismiss these attacks as ‘unexplained health incidents.’
Four years ago, medical experts convened by the State Department agreed victims were likely dealing with brain trauma from a non-natural source. And the evidence has only grown more conclusive since then.
Last year, the National Academy of Sciences said that ‘directed, pulsed radio frequency energy’ is the most likely cause. According to the NAS, this situation raises grave concerns about bad actors who may have weapons.
So, while we must assist victims with today’s bill, we must do more. We must call these heinous attacks what they are – they are attacks. And the people attacking us need to know the consequences will be severe when we find out who they are when we get the attribution.
Otherwise, we aren’t doing what we can to deter future attacks. The men and women who serve our nation overseas deserve no less.
I have prepared a bill to do just that, which I will be introducing this week. I want to thank Chairman Meeks and our Intelligence Committee colleagues for their bipartisan work on the HAVANA Act, which I strongly support.
I reserve the balance of my time.”