House Intelligence Committee Chairman Turner & Ranking Member Himes Respond to “Havana Syndrome” Report by Intelligence Community
Press Contacts: Maggie Ward (Rep. Turner) 202-308-8390 & Nora Kohli (Rep. Himes) 781-249-9004
Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (OH-10) and Ranking Member Jim Himes (CT-04) today issued the following joint statement in response to the Intelligence Community’s assessment on anomalous health incidents (AHIs) at U.S. embassies and missions across the world. These AHIs are commonly known as “Havana Syndrome” due to the fact that health symptoms in U.S. personnel started coming to light at the U.S. mission in Cuba in 2016. The unclassified report by the Intelligence Community can be found here.
“In the past two Congresses, the Intelligence Committee has engaged in intensive and bipartisan oversight of anomalous health incidents. We have focused on efforts both to understand what is causing these incidents and to support the individuals who have suffered. In the course of that work, Committee Members and staff have met with many victims and others involved in the associated investigations, heard their candid and compelling stories, and committed our support.
“The Intelligence Community has now completed a coordinated assessment regarding the cause of these incidents and has stated publicly that it has been unable to find a clear link to any foreign adversary or other outside actor who may have injured our personnel. We will seek to ensure the review was conducted with the highest degree of analytical rigor and that it considered all the available intelligence and perspectives, documenting all substantial differences in analysis. The Committee will take a skeptical approach and test the assumptions of the IC, as our oversight requires.
“As the Committee further reviews the intelligence community’s work, we remain committed to four core principles.
“First, there can be no backsliding in the care and support we provide to our workforce. Congress enacted the HAVANA Act to expand benefits for those who have experienced AHIs, and we are closely monitoring that process to ensure it proceeds in accordance with the intent of the law.
“Second, there should be no change to processes established within the IC, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and elsewhere in the federal government to intake AHI reports, conduct the appropriate follow-on investigations, and direct individuals to care and support. Those who have come forward—as they were asked to do—should be treated with respect and they should be heard.
“Third, the investigation of AHIs has led to significant new focus in understanding the potential dangers and evolving challenges faced by the men and women of the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense, and other agencies. That work should continue, recognizing that these challenges will endure.
“Finally, the Committee expects Intelligence Community leadership to continue to assess the causes of these incidents, collect reports, and to modify its conclusions as appropriate on the basis of any new evidence or analysis.”