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house Bill H.R. 6262

Should the State Department Investigate Ways to Protect Diplomats From Sonic Attacks?

Argument in favor

American diplomats and others who work in U.S. embassies and consulates are vital to American diplomatic presence overseas. Their safety must be ensured, so investigating ways to mitigate acoustic attacks on these public servants should be a national security priority.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
08/07/2018
Although many people don’t understand the value of the state department, our diplomats are the strongest force the United States has overseas. Violence is easy. Diplomacy is hard. Protect our diplomats, they do a hard job with little to no gratitude.
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Mindful's Opinion
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08/07/2018
What else would you expect? Secretary of State doing his job in behalf of his own people...and the rest of us.
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Rick 's Opinion
···
08/07/2018
Call me stupid, but what is the CIA, NSA, and the Defense Department doing in these matters as well? There’s a new word out, just in case you haven’t heard of it, collaboration!!!!
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Argument opposed

It’s still unclear what exactly was the cause of the attacks in Cuba and China — an investigation into mitigating sonic attacks may be premature at this point. Additionally, the State Department already assembled a task force to investigate these attacks, so this bill is unnecessary.

Erin's Opinion
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08/07/2018
Why waste taxpayer money on a report which may or may not be scientifically proven? This administration has continually stated that it does not believe in scientifically proven data, so again, why waste taxpayer money. If diplomats are being targeted by sonic attacks, then close the embassy.
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I.Got.an.Idea...'s Opinion
···
08/07/2018
Is a bill even necessary to perform this? If our representatives were attacked, there should already be legislation that exists to address this issue. This appears to be a waste of time and politicing to make it appear that Republicans actually are concerned with the well-being of our representatives. Now that these diplomats have pre-existing conditions, they should not be allowed to get health insurance, right? We should create a bill that finds a task force to make sure that any politician that has pre-existing conditions does not have health coverage.
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Santiago's Opinion
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08/07/2018
It’s still unclear what exactly was the cause of the attacks in Cuba and China — an investigation into mitigating sonic attacks may be premature at this point. Additionally, the State Department already assembled a task force to investigate these attacks, so this bill is unnecessary.
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What is House Bill H.R. 6262?

This bill — known as the Mitigating Attacks on Diplomats Act — would require the Secretary of State, in coordination with several other agencies, to prepare a report on: 1) the efforts and options to mitigate acoustic attacks on Foreign Service officers and their families, and 2) the physical protection capabilities to protect United States embassies, consulates, and residences.

Specifically, the report would be written with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Commerce, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Energy, and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence.

Impact

U.S. foreign service personnel; U.S. embassies; U.S. consulates; Secretary of State; Secretary of Health and Human Services; Secretary of Commerce; Attorney General; Secretary of Defense; Secretary of Energy; and the Director of National Intelligence.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6262

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced this bill to require a report on the efforts and options to mitigate the acoustic attacks on Foreign Service officers and their families:

“We must take a comprehensive approach to identify methods that protect against and counter acoustic attacks and similar non-traditional assaults against our Foreign Service officers, their families, and our embassy structures. I am grateful that the State Department has taken the acoustic attacks in Cuba and China seriously."

There are no cosponsors of this bill.


Of Note: Prior to introducing this bill, Rep. Wilson sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a letter requesting additional information on the strange and unexplained symptoms suffered by U.S. diplomats working in China and Cuba. In his letter, Rep. Wilson requested:

  • A report from the Department of State covering the current and planned efforts to address and combat the assessed causes of the “sonic” or “acoustic” attacks;

  • A report on the current and planned physical protection practices applied towards U.S. embassies, consulates, and embassy residences to protect against such attacks; and

  • A discussion and advisement on how Congress can provide additional support towards a solution and ensure diplomats’ safety abroad

In late 2016 through early 2017, at least 24 U.S. diplomats in Cuba — along with several Canadian diplomats — complained of hearing loss, nausea, loss of balance, and headaches. In late November 2017 through April 2018, at least two U.S. officials in Guangzhou, China, complained of similar symptoms. Finally, in June 2018, the U.S. removed two workers from its embassy in Cuba to check if they also suffered brain injuries.

While many have characterized these incidents as sonic attacks, no definitive cause has been determined yet by experts from a range of fields who have looked into the issue. In a March study by the medical investigators who looked at the patients’ symptoms, they said the cause of the trauma “remains elusive,” but raises “concern about a new mechanism for possible acquired brain injury from an exposure of unknown origin.”

To investigate these incidents, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has convened a task force, called the Health Incidents Response Task Force, to serve as a “coordinating body for department and interagency activities, including identification and treatment of affected personnel and family members, investigation and risk mitigation, messaging, and diplomatic outreach.” The task force is led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, and includes representatives from other U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.


Media:

Summary  by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock / stacey_newman)

AKA

Mitigating Attacks on Diplomats Act

Official Title

To require a report on the efforts and options to mitigate the acoustic attacks on Foreign Service officers and their families and the physical protection capabilities to protect United States embassies, consulates, and residences, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedJune 28th, 2018
    Although many people don’t understand the value of the state department, our diplomats are the strongest force the United States has overseas. Violence is easy. Diplomacy is hard. Protect our diplomats, they do a hard job with little to no gratitude.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    Why waste taxpayer money on a report which may or may not be scientifically proven? This administration has continually stated that it does not believe in scientifically proven data, so again, why waste taxpayer money. If diplomats are being targeted by sonic attacks, then close the embassy.
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    Is a bill even necessary to perform this? If our representatives were attacked, there should already be legislation that exists to address this issue. This appears to be a waste of time and politicing to make it appear that Republicans actually are concerned with the well-being of our representatives. Now that these diplomats have pre-existing conditions, they should not be allowed to get health insurance, right? We should create a bill that finds a task force to make sure that any politician that has pre-existing conditions does not have health coverage.
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    What else would you expect? Secretary of State doing his job in behalf of his own people...and the rest of us.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    It’s still unclear what exactly was the cause of the attacks in Cuba and China — an investigation into mitigating sonic attacks may be premature at this point. Additionally, the State Department already assembled a task force to investigate these attacks, so this bill is unnecessary.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    Call me stupid, but what is the CIA, NSA, and the Defense Department doing in these matters as well? There’s a new word out, just in case you haven’t heard of it, collaboration!!!!
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Why not investigate a possible National Security breach in our 2016 election? Or conspiracy against the United States during that same election? Or why Lawmakers continue to waste OUR money on insanely obscure ideas? Countable, thank you for letting us know that taxpayer money is being wasted by paying for the group of lawyers who actually craft these bills, support secretaries and aides working for the lawmakers, and the lawmakers themselves.
    Like (10)
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    We definitely need to do something about this.
    Like (7)
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    Why not work to again make the US a respectable, generous, compassionate, intelligent country that works for justice and equality in the world so that other countries would have no excuse for attacking diplomats.
    Like (7)
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    The State department needs a real president to lead them, not a maniac set on destroying relationships with other countries and destroying any positive work ambassadors may do.
    Like (6)
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    SURE, Why the devil shouldn’t we not protect our Diplomats? American diplomats and others who work in U.S. embassies and consulates are vital to American diplomatic presence overseas. Their safety must be ensured, so investigating ways to mitigate acoustic attacks on these public servants should be a national security priority. 6*7*28 ..... SneakyPete
    Like (6)
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    I say no, but only because I am sure that the Diplomatic Security Service is already working this issue.
    Like (4)
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    Allow the current investigations to reach their conclusions.
    Like (4)
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    YES!
    Like (3)
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    Leave it to tech people. Take Donald Trump’s parade money away and pay technology experts to Protect all of us from sonic attacks.
    Like (3)
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    There is no evidence that our diplomats were victims of any kind of sonic attacks. This legislation is jumping the gun. We need to figure out what the actual cause of these injuries were first.
    Like (3)
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    This bill is an example of too many cooks in the kitchen, only it's cutthroat kitchen, and half the cooks are out to screw the ones with more integrity and better experience, so that their criminal boss can stay out of jail. We have better things to worry about right now -- Russian hacks into our election machines, for instance. Let's have a bill to deal strongly with those first, shall we?
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    An attack is an attack. Protect our people.
    Like (3)
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    But, this administration doesn't believe in sciencey things... So this really isn't a real thing to them, right? Science isn't real, right? Oh no! Is it the devil then? Can we protect them against... Oh wait. The devil is in the oval office. Well, when he's not golfing.
    Like (2)
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    That should be up to CIA & NSA. God knows they get enough money.
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