The US Will Compensate Some Victims Of The ‘Havana Syndrome’ With Up To US $ 200,000

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(WABNEWS) — Some victims of the mysterious “Havana syndrome” are expected to receive compensation of between $100,000 and $200,000 from the US government, based on the extent of their injuries and the department for the who work, according to two congressional aides familiar with administration deliberations and a former intelligence agent.

Since at least 2016, US diplomats, spies, and service members around the world have been plagued by a mysterious set of symptoms now known colloquially as the Havana syndrome. While the US intelligence community has so far been unable to determine what, or who, is causing the spate of injuries, the Biden administration has been under increasing pressure to provide support to victims, some of who are struggling with high medical costs and job loss due to their injuries.

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The CIA and the State Department have been working to develop eligibility guidelines for compensation payments, required by legislation passed by Congress in 2021.

“The CIA has been working in partnership with the interagency as part of a coordinated process through the National Security Council on developing the implementation guidance required by the Havana Law and we will have more information on this soon,” said a US official. the CIA in a statement Thursday.

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The State Department echoed those comments, with a spokesman saying that the Havana Law authorizes the department to provide payments to personnel for certain qualifying brain injuries and requires the department to publish implementing regulations.

“We will have more details to provide about that process soon,” the spokesperson said. “More generally, the Secretary’s top priority is the health, safety, and security of Department personnel and family members. The Department is doing everything possible to ensure that employees who report an AHI [incidente de salud anómalo] receive prompt and appropriate attention and care.

Washington Post w as the first to report on the compensation amounts some victims are expected to receive.

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The Biden administration has already passed the April deadline to deliver the required regulations, frustrating Congress and victims as the interagency approach to this mysterious disease has already been riddled with dysfunctions and complications.

To be implemented, the so-called Law of Havana, that President Joe Biden signed into law late last year, requires the State Department and the CIA to define what would qualify as a brain injury. It does not require departments to share the same definition.

As victims wait for the rule to be released, there is concern that the departments could come up with separate definitions, two sources familiar with the matter told WABNEWS. There is also concern that the two departments present different amounts of compensation for victims, which the legislation also requires them to determine. That could result in two US government employees from different agencies having similar incidents but being compensated different amounts.

The departments met separately with outside doctors and specialists to determine how they would define a brain injury, the sources said.

“It is up to the CIA and the State to use the same criteria to implement the Havana Law. Both for who is considered a victim and what level of compensation they are entitled to. I continue to be concerned that both agencies are not following the intent of what is now law, based on the historic failure of the US government to take victims’ cases seriously,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a campaigner for the CIA that suffered a mysterious attack in Moscow in 2017. “Remember, this law is designed to provide financial relief to victims whose careers and lives have been destroyed, and who have suffered mental, physical and financial hardship.”

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In the coming days or weeks, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is expected to release those definitions and compensation amounts, after they have gone through a US government review, the sources said.

When the OMB publishes the rule, there will be a 30-day public comment period, allowing those with vested interests to provide input before the rule is implemented according to legislation. Victims predict that the response could be overwhelming and heated if there are definitions they disagree with or compensation amounts that seem unfair.

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