Day 12: Secretary of Defense remains hospitalized, Defense’s Inspector General opens investigation

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It’s Day 12 for the hospitalization of Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin, who kept his medical crisis secret for weeks, until finally revealing to the president that he had been in the intensive care unit at Walter Reed Hospital.

Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder has vowed to keep the public informed, after the department has come under withering criticism for what was either poor judgment or incompetence in the chain of command. Austin did not inform President Joe Biden of his prostate cancer diagnosis in December, and didn’t tell President Biden or his second-in-command that he was undergoing general anesthesia on Dec. 22 and would be in the hospital overnight. He returned to the hospital on Jan. 1 after experiencing intense pain and nausea and was admitted to the ICU. But he didn’t reveal any of this to the president until later that week. The president was on vacation out of the country during some of that time.

Ryder said on Thursday that Austin continues to experience discomfort and has not yet been released from the hospital.

Friday marks the 12th day that Austin has been in Walter Reed; three of those days were in intensive care. He was described by Ryder as now performing his job from his hospital bed, after having delegated his duties to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Jan. 2.

When he transferred some of his duties to Hicks, he did not tell her he was in the ICU. Hicks was on vacation in Puerto Rico when she became the top civilian in charge of the “certain operational authorities” of the military, not knowing her boss was having a medical emergency.

Ryder said he still does not have a specific date for Austin’s release.

“Out of an abundance of caution, of course, we want to ensure that when the doctors feel it’s appropriate for him to check out, we’ll do that,” Ryder said.

The Defense Department’s inspector general on Thursday announced he will launch an investigation into the events surrounding Austin’s medical crisis, and the breach of protocols in informing the White House, Congress, and the public. Inspector General Robert Storch said his focus will be on the Office of the Secretary of Defense, but his scope could expand.

“The objective of the review is to examine the roles, processes, procedures, responsibilities, and actions related to the Secretary of Defense’s hospitalization in December 2023 – January 2024, and assess whether the DoD’s policies and procedures are sufficient to ensure timely and appropriate notifications and the effective transition of authorities as may be warranted due to health-based or other unavailability of senior leadership,” Storch wrote in a memo to Austin.

“The DoD OIG may revise or expand the objective and scope as the review proceeds. We plan to perform this review in accordance with Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, ‘Quality Standards for Federal Offices of Inspector General.’ We will perform the review at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. We may identify additional offices and personnel who might have information relevant to our review,” Storch wrote in his Jan. 10 memo.

“We request that you designate a staff member to serve as our point of contact for this review within 5 days of this memorandum. The point of contact should be a Government employee—a GS-15, or pay band equivalent, or the military equivalent—and knowledgeable of the matters related to the objective,” he wrote.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Sadly, it is medically impossible to expect him to be able to function in a high level position during “treatment “. He would be just as capable of captaining a commercial aircraft under the required chemotherapy and drugs needed to counteract the treatment. Hope he can find better use of his remaining days.

  2. One thing Grandpa Bloodstains administration has show is just how little we need most cabinet positions.

  3. Now we’re bombing Yemen, further escalating war, our involvement, and efforts by the controligarchs to bring about ww3. Let’s Go Brandon.

    • This aging, obese man remains in the hospital. The length of the stay only produces more questions. What is he paid to do, actually? Can he really do his job from a hospital bed? One thought for me is that he remains in his position because he knows embarrassing stuff about people. Would make sense for The Swamp.

  4. So who is advising the pres on military matters? Or does it even matter since it is brandon’s handlers who are running the show?

  5. I’ve never seen more dysfunction, incompetence, and outright buffoonery than I have with this presidency and administration. There isn’t one person of competence or proper health in the whole group and we still have another year, and sadly, probably four more.

  6. This guy Austin is out to lunch. He will absolutely not be able to perform 100% for months if ever. Clearly he thinks he is so important WE can’t survive without him. We need him out of there immediately. This administration is a bunch of lying thieving freaks. Enough already.

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