State Department staffer with Havana syndrome sues US government

More than 200 Americans abroad have reportedly experienced the strange illness

Gino Spocchia
Friday 10 December 2021 15:42

US Secretary of State Offers Details of Investigation Into ‘Havana Syndrome’

A State Department employee has reportedly sued US secretary of state Anthony Blinken and the department for alleged disability discrimination in relation to the so-called “Havana syndrome”.

Mark Lenzi, a member of the diplomatic security services, has alleged in court that his employer failed to adequately investigate him falling ill in 2017 when he was based in Guangzhou, China.

As CNN reported, Mr Lenzi said he and his wife and children all began experiencing “sudden and unexplained mental and physical symptoms” in November 2017, but were not evacuated.

Symptoms allegedly included “headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, nosebleeds, sleeplessness, and memory loss,” and were not dissimilar to existing reports of “Havana” syndrome.

Mr Lenzi’s lawsuit alleged that an inspector admitted to using outdated equipment during a technical inspection of his family’s Guangzhou home, while a colleague with similar symptoms was medically evacuated from China.

He also alleged, according to the report, that the inspector told him “that this technical inspection of the medevac’d officer’s apartment was a ‘check-the-box’ exercise”.

Diplomatic security leadership were also allegedly aware of other US officials in Guangzhou experiencing unusual symptoms, but ordered Mr Lenzi to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after he moved his family out of the effected apartment without the state department’s help.

Upon returning to the US, Mr Lenzi reportedly said that he and his wife were found to have experienced a form of brain injury, and the State Department has continued to discriminate against him because of it.

A spokesperson for the state department told The Independent that it does not comment on matters in litigation.

Mr Blinked said recently that “all of us in the US government, and especially we at the State Department, are intently focused on getting to the bottom of what and who is causing these incidents”, with incidents still being reported around the world.

It comes after more than 200 US officials have reportedly experienced signs of “Havana” syndrome, an unsolved neurological illness that was first detected in Cuba in 2016.

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