(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says she is "absolutely outraged" by mysterious, direct-energy attacks on Americans, some serving overseas, and now a few government officials reportedly attacked in the Washington, D.C., area.
One of the domestic attacks reportedly harmed a National Security Council official walking near the White House last November. A White House employee reportedly was attacked in suburban Washington in 2019.
"You're on the Senate Intelligence Committee," CNN’s Jake Tapper said in a “State of the Union” interview with Collins on Sunday.
"Federal investigators are looking into at least two incidents of the so-called Havana syndrome, attacks in the United States, mysterious, invisible attacks, leading to symptoms such as ear popping, vertigo, headaches, nausea...What have you learned that you can tell us? How concerned should Americans be?" Tapper asked.
"I am absolutely outraged at these attacks on our American personnel serving overseas. They started in Havana (in 2016) or were identified there," Collins said:
There's a mysterious, direct energy weapon that is being used. And it is causing, in some cases, permanent traumatic brain injury. And yet the personnel involved -- there have been other attacks around the world -- have had a difficult time getting both the medical care and the financial help that they need from the CIA. And that is outrageous.
What we need to do -- and I'm introducing, working on legislation -- is to ensure they get the medical care and the financial compensation that they need. And we need a whole-of-government approach to identify what adversary is targeting American personnel who are serving, particularly overseas, but now we hear reports of cases here.
I am hopeful that, with the new CIA director, whom I have talked to about this issue twice, he is committed. And, also, the chair, Mark Warner, and the vice chair, Marco Rubio, of the Intelligence Committee have announced that we're going to continue our investigations and get to the bottom of these absolutely outrageous attacks on our men and women who are serving our country.
In a joint statement issued on April 30, Warner and Rubio wrote: "For nearly five years, we have been aware of reports of mysterious attacks on United States Government personnel in Havana, Cuba and around the world. This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing. The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this. We have already held fact-finding hearings on these debilitating attacks, many of which result in medically confirmed cases of Traumatic Brain Injury, and will do more."
Warner and Rubio said they are working with the intelligence community "to better understand the technology behind the weapon responsible for these attacks," to protect U.S. citizens, and to provide medical and financial support for victims. "Ultimately, we will identify those responsible for these attacks on American personnel and will hold them accountable,” the senators said.
At an April 29 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines referred obliquely to the attacks, telling the committee that "taking care of our people also means investigating the source of anomalous health incidents that have affected our personnel and caring for those affected."
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) talked about those "anomalous health incidents" with Haines.
"So I'm not going to ask you if that report is correct or not, because I recognize that there has been a real effort to try and keep this information classified," Shaheen said.
But I do want to ask you about the concern that I have that that kind of clampdown on information that's available to Congress, that's available to the public, has led to leaks, and it's not clear whether the information we're getting is correct or incorrect.
And so I wonder if you could speak to that and to what more can be done to declassify some of that information, share it with members of Congress in a way that allows us to better respond. After all, we have to fund operations, and there are a lot of personnel--not a lot, there are personnel who have been harmed who need to--we need to make sure get the care and benefits they need.
Haines told Shaheen that the intelligence community is "focused on this issue."
"And I think, you know, our concern, obviously, with the classification is because we believe that either it's protecting sources and methods and it's critical to our national security, and we'll have to figure that out with you, but you should certainly have access to the classified information, and we should figure out if there's a way to help you address these issues more generally."
Shaheen told Haines that the "information is already out there, and I think it behooves us all to try and make sure that the information that gets out is accurate and that people understand what's happening and that there is an effort to respond to that. So I would urge you to consider that."