A group of U.S. diplomats and other government staffers suffering from symptoms consistent with "Havana Syndrome" are voicing frustration with the Biden administration's early response, and warning that injured workers are still being denied proper care.
In a letter to State Department leadership obtained by NBC News, the staffers say that in recent months, the government has continued to "reject scientific evidence regarding the injuries and treatment needs" and to "invalidate our injuries and experiences," alleging that military and intelligence officials injured by the same unexplained phenomenon are being treated more seriously.
"After four years of challenges, we were hopeful that the new administration would welcome a partnership with us to ensure those affected receive the care and treatment they need and ensure appropriate care for the new cases," the staffers wrote. "Unfortunately, our experience thus far has fallen short of our renewed expectations."
The letter adds to growing pressure on the Biden administration from Congress to better care for affected U.S. workers and get to the bottom of how they suffered brain injuries — still largely a mystery more than four years after the government started investigating what at first it called "targeted attacks." Like the Trump administration, the Biden administration has not found a definitive cause or culprit.
The letter was sent Tuesday to Brian McKeon, a deputy secretary of State, and was accompanied by a list of 11 recommendations for how the staffers say the administration could better ensure safety and medical care for its workers. Copies were distributed to their offices of several U.S. senators who this month signed onto a bipartisan bill to provide financial support to those suffering from the mysterious incidents.
The letter was sent on behalf of 21 U.S. government workers and their spouses who are considered potential or confirmed Havana Syndrome cases injured overseas, including in Cuba and China. In March, the group had asked Amb. Pamela Spratlen, the official overseeing the State Department's response, to attend a formal meeting to address their concerns, but write that they're still waiting.