Shaheen and Collins meet with AHI Interagency Coordinator Maher Bitar to discuss the administration’s response to directed energy attacks

March 03, 2022

** The White House announced last month that Maher Bitar would serve as an abnormal health incident (AHI) Inter-Agency Coordinator following disposition of Shaheen who created this position through the NDAA**

**Shaheen & Collins wrote a letter to Bitar last month urging him to address the pressing issues hampering the United States’ whole-of-government response to directed energy attacks**

(Washington, DC) – United States Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, and Susan Collins today met with Maher Bitar, Senior Director of Intelligence at the National Security Council and newly appointed Interagency Coordinator for Anomalous Health Incidents (AHI), to discuss the administration’s response to directed energy attacks. – otherwise known as “Havana syndrome”. They discussed the senators’ leadership to expand victims’ access to quality medical care and improve the coordination of the government’s response, as well as upcoming interagency briefings to Congress required by their legislation.

The meeting follows a letter that Senators Shaheen and Collins wrote to Bitar last month urging him to address pressing issues relating to the United States’ whole-of-government response to the alleged directed energy attacks.

“I enjoyed meeting with Mr. Bitar today to discuss his newly appointed role and the next steps in the administration’s response to the alleged directed energy attacks. This administration must act urgently to treat the victims suffering severe brain damage from these mysterious attacks – I was delighted with Mr. Bitar’s commitment to this issue over the past year before his official designation,” said Shaheen. “I have drafted legislation to create this position because it is essential that we ensure fair and consistent care for victims of suspected directed energy attacks and that we ensure they have access to the medical treatment they need. to recover. I look forward to working closely with Mr. Bitar and other administration officials working to address this issue and ensure a whole-of-government response that expands access to care for affected officials and uncovers the cause of these attacks.

“I appreciated that Mr. Bitar took the time to meet with us today to provide an update on the work he is coordinating to implement the HAVANA Act and ensure that victims of AHI benefit from the health care and financial assistance they need”, said Senator Collins. “We had a productive discussion about the importance of treating affected personnel fairly and consistently across government agencies. There is still much work to be done to ensure prompt and equitable access to medical care and other compensation, but I was encouraged by Mr. Bitar’s commitment to ensuring that public servants who suffered brain injuries get the support they deserve.

Senator Shaheen has long supported government employees and their families who have suffered these mysterious injuries from directed-energy attacks, and is leading congressional efforts to provide them with essential health benefits. The FY2022 National Defense Act included a Shaheen provision based on his standalone legislation to compel the president to appoint a senior national security official – now occupied by Maher Bitar – to mount a whole-of-government response and direct heads of relevant agencies to appoint senior officials to lead their agency’s response. The FY2022 law also includes a Shaheen-backed provision to ensure injured officers and their families have immediate access to specialist facilities at Walter Reed. In the fiscal year 2021 NDAA that became law, Shaheen successfully included language to extend a provision of the law she had previously written to provide long-term emergency care benefits to all employees of the U.S. government and their dependents who were mysteriously injured while working in China and Cuba. Last year, legislation co-sponsored by Shaheen, led by Senator Collins, to support public servants who have suffered injuries due to directed-energy attacks was signed into law. Senator Shaheen and Collins also called on the administration to expand access to care at Walter Reed for those affected by these incidents.

Senator Collins, a member of the Intelligence Committee, has been a leader in congressional efforts to ensure that victims of Havana Syndrome receive the support they deserve. Last year, the HAVANA Act that Senator Collins drafted was signed into law. The legislation authorizes the Director of the CIA and the Secretary of State to provide additional financial support to US officials who have suffered brain damage likely to be caused by directed energy attacks. Senator Collins also secured funding in the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bill to implement the HAVANA Act.

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