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Washington, D.C. – As part of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s ongoing State Department oversight, Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Chairman Paul Cook (R-CA) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeking answers about the attacks on American diplomats in Cuba.

In the letter, Chairmen Royce and Cook say, “We write out of grave concern regarding the attacks on American diplomats and their family members in Havana, Cuba. As you know, the victims of these attacks have suffered serious health issues, including hearing loss, dizziness, nausea, cognitive difficulties, and trouble sleeping… While many Members hold different views on U.S. policy towards Cuba, we all agree that the health and safety of our diplomats and their families is vital to the national security of the United States.”

Full text of the letter is available below or here:

November 6, 2017

The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We write out of grave concern regarding the attacks on American diplomats and their family members in Havana, Cuba. As you know, the victims of these attacks have suffered serious health issues, including hearing loss, dizziness, nausea, cognitive difficulties, and trouble sleeping. It is our hope that the answers to the questions below will advance the Committee’s ongoing oversight of the Department’s response.

  • When did senior State Department officials, such as the Chief of Mission in Havana, first receive evidence of these attacks?
  • The Department has confirmed that the number of victims has risen to 24. As the investigation continues, is there evidence to suggest that this number will continue to rise? In addition, press reports indicate that these attacks occurred from late 2016 until August 2017. Is there any evidence to suggest that attacks occurred before or after these dates?
  • The Department has made clear that it has not determined whether the Cuban Government is responsible for these attacks and has not ruled out the involvement of third countries. Since the Committee was last updated, is there new evidence or analysis to suggest the source of these attacks?
  • On October 12, 2017, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert stated that “in a small country like Cuba that has the type of regime and government that it does, they tend to know things that are going on within its own borders.” Does this imply that the Department believes at least some element of the Cuban government has knowledge of the source of these attacks?
  • We understand that the victims are receiving comprehensive medical evaluations and care. Does the State Department consider injuries related to these attacks as having been incurred in the line of duty?  How will the Department determine whether to provide ongoing medical care and benefits to victims of these attacks, including after they—or their family members—have left government service?

We appreciate your answers to these questions and look forward to working closely together with you to ensure the health and safety of U.S. diplomats and their families serving in Havana and around the world. While many Members hold different views on U.S. policy towards Cuba, we all agree that the health and safety of our diplomats and their families is vital to the national security of the United States.

Sincerely,

Edward R. Royce
Chairman

Paul Cook
Chairman, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

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