Senior diplomat will take charge of Havana Syndrome task force, Blinken says

The syndrome first surfaced in 2016, when diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Havana reported migraine headaches, dizziness, and other disabling symptoms.
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister following a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on September 8, 2021.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken
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A senior government official will take charge of the State Department's efforts to understand and resolve the mysterious Havana Syndrome that apparently has afflicted U.S. diplomatic and other personnel overseas.

Ambassador Jonathan Moore will lead the department's Health Incident Response Task Force to investigate the syndrome, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Friday.

The announcement came amid claims from bipartisan lawmakers that the Biden administration has not fully addressed the syndrome, which approximately 200 Americans say has afflicted them.

The syndrome first surfaced in 2016, when diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Havana reported migraine headaches, dizziness, and other disabling symptoms. Since then, other Americans and their families stationed overseas have reported the symptoms.

“This is an urgent priority for President Biden, for me, for our entire government and we will do absolutely everything we can, leaving no stone unturned,” Blinken told reporters Friday at the State Department.

"I want to underscore that every report will be taken seriously by me, our health and security professionals, and the leadership of the department," Moore said at the briefing. He asked that people who believe they have experienced the syndrome to report their symptoms.

"People have been profoundly, profoundly affected by this," Blinken said. "And when you sit down with our people and hear what’s happened to them, how they’ve been affected, it’s very, very powerful."

Blinken said he has been moved by listening to people talk about how the syndrome has affected their lives.

"We will get to the bottom of this, and meanwhile we’ll do everything we can to care for our people," Blinken said.

The newly-appointed Moore asked that people who believe they have experienced the syndrome to report their symptoms.

"I want to underscore that every report will be taken seriously by me, our health and security professionals, and the leadership of the department," Moore said at the briefing. 

Blinken also announced that retired ambassador Margaret Uyehara has been appointed to take charge of efforts to care for State Department employees.