'Havana Syndrome' Victims to Receive Compensation

Biggest amounts could go to those who lost their jobs because of symptoms
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2022 4:05 PM CDT
US Plans 6-Figure Payments for 'Havana Syndrome' Victims
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department in Washington last November with Jonathan Moore, who was named one of the officials overseeing the "Havana Syndrome" investigation.   (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)

(Newser) – After years of investigations and legislative pressure from Congress on their behalf, some victims of "Havana syndrome" are to receive $100,000 to $200,000 each in compensation. The health problems first reported by diplomats and intelligence officials include headaches, vision problems, dizziness, and brain fog. The US has not been able to determine the cause of what it calls Anomalous Health Incidents. The biggest payments would be awarded to current and former employees who lost their jobs or whose careers were damaged. The amounts are not yet final, the Washington Post reports.

A law passed by Congress last fall calls for the CIA director and the secretary of state to decide who's eligible, leading to concerns about fairness. "It is crucial that CIA and State implement the Havana Act in an identical fashion," said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former senior CIA officer who retired in 2019 while suffering headaches and other symptoms. He was afflicted after running clandestine operations in Russia in 2017. The symptoms first were identified by staff members in Havana but by now have been reported on every continent except Antarctica.

Speculation had raged for years that a foreign enemy was using a weapon of some sort on Americans. But the CIA has said it's found no evidence of that, though it's also said pulsed electromagnetic energy devices could be the culprits. Investigators have looked into more than 1,000 cases and couldn't explain dozens of them. But they said most symptoms were caused by environmental factors or preexisting medical conditions, per the Post. The Pentagon, National Institutes of Health, and other agencies have designed a new exam to assess potential cases. (Read more Havana syndrome stories.)

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