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Members of Congress are demanding more answers on how the State Department is responding to mysterious health incidents affecting U.S. diplomats in China that are medically consistent with those that took place against more than two dozen American workers in Cuba.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.), who sits on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, has asked Secretary of State Pompeo for a State Department report that includes the U.S. government’s current and planned efforts to address and combat the “assessed causes” of the recent spate of “sonic” attacks on Americans in China and Cuba.
Wilson also requested information on the concrete steps U.S. authorities are taking to protect U.S. embassies and residences abroad.
“We must take a comprehensive approach to identify methods that protect against and counter acoustic attacks and non-traditional assaults against our Foreign Service officers and their families, and our embassy structures,” Wilson said in a statement.
“I am grateful that the State Department has taken the acoustic attacks in Cuba and China seriously,” he added.
Wilson said in a letter sent to Pompeo earlier this month that he has learned “multiple” American diplomats and their family members who were assigned to the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou, China have been sent back to the United States for further evaluation and testing, which “implies that the problem may be growing.”
Wilson also informed Pompeo that he had introduced a bill in response to the attacks that would require multiple federal agencies conduct a study to determine the appropriate standards and procedures to counter what he referred to as “hypersonic acoustic attacks” on foreign service officers and their families.
The measure would require the Health and Human Services, Commerce, and Defense departments to work with the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to carry out the study and report their findings to Congress within a year.
Pompeo in testimony to Congress has said the one confirmed health attack on a U.S. employee in China is medically “consistent” with those that took place against 25 U.S. diplomats in Cuba over the past two years.
After just a few weeks at the State Department, when new health reports were occurring against diplomats in China, Pompeo created a task force to look into the matter in order to better analyze the various competing theories behind the unexplained incidents.
The Cuban government has pledged full cooperation with U.S. authorities investigating the attacks in Havana, but also has argued that the debilitating attacks could be the result of loud crickets or cicadas.
Pompeo, during Senate testimony earlier this week, said the Chinese government appears to be responding more seriously to the reports of multiple health incidents against U.S. workers working at the Guangzhou consulate than the way the Cuban government has handled the attacks that left more than two-dozen U.S. workers or their family members complaining of multiple symptoms, including dizziness, sleeplessness, nausea, and in some cases, hearing loss and cognitive damage.
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