Hit by Havana Syndrome, His Problems Had Only Just Begun

Mark Lenzi sues State Department, says he's been discriminated against
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2021 2:20 AM CST
Hit by Havana Syndrome, He's Now Suing State Department
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Norway's Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.   (Elizabeth Frantz/Pool via AP)

A State Department officer who says he and his family started suffering from what is now referred to as "Havana syndrome" in 2017 is now suing the State Department and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The disability discrimination suit is the first known lawsuit against the US government regarding the strange symptoms suffered by numerous diplomats and other service members, CNN reports. Mark Lenzi, a member of the diplomatic security services, says he has been retaliated against by the department for talking about his symptoms, which started when he was serving in China.

He also accuses the State Department of not making enough of an effort to figure out what was causing the symptoms; to date there are no official answers for what is causing the syndrome, first identified in diplomats in Cuba in 2016. His wife and children suffered too, per the suit, experiencing "sudden and unexplained mental and physical symptoms, including headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, nosebleeds, sleeplessness, and memory loss."

Lenzi says that after officials tried to hush up the report on his ailment, he emailed colleagues to warn them and was promptly ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as a result. He says both he and his wife have been evaluated and found to demonstrate brain injury symptoms consistent with directed energy exposure, but that he wasn't tested for that until six months later, Spectrum News reports. He was ultimately diagnosed with acquired brain injury/concussion, but he says the discrimination has continued and the State Department has made it difficult for him to get the treatment he needs. (Read more Havana syndrome stories.)

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