Defense Department investigates, finds itself without blame in Sec. Austin secret hospitalizations

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An unclassified summary of a 30-day review of circumstances surrounding the hospitalization last month of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was released Monday.

The short version is: The department investigated itself and absolved itself of all blame for the president and Congress being kept in the dark as the secretary of Defense was in the intensive care unit.

Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December and was scheduled for surgery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for Dec. 22. He kept it secret from the president.

On Jan. 1, he was taken by ambulance back to Walter Reed after experiencing pain and was admitted to the intensive care unit. He transferred decision-making to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks during his first surgery and then when he was admitted again, but he didn’t tell her why and did not inform the president or Congress.

The summary claimed Austin’s staff couldn’t share information about the secretary’s health due to medical privacy laws. Apparently, they felt they could not even tell the commander-in-chief. They said Austin’s medical condition fluctuated and “timely secured communication couldn’t be assured.”

The 3-page summary of the audit is accompanied by action items that the department will take to better prepare for a transfer of authority from the secretary to the deputy secretary or another official, should the secretary ever become incapacitated.

“The review found that the deputy secretary was at all times positioned to perform all the functions and duties of the secretary of defense during the period of transfer from January 2-5, 2024,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder during a briefing with reporters. “It also identified several processes and procedural improvements that could be made.” 

The audit summary said, ““nothing examined during this review demonstrated any indication of ill intent or an attempt to obfuscate” the transfer of authority from the ailing secretary. The audit itself remains classified. 

Austin has been called to the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Feb. 29, where Chairman Mike. Rogers of Alabama, has said that “Congress must understand what happened and who made decisions to prevent the disclosure of the whereabouts of a cabinet secretary.” The committee “will meet to receive testimony from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the circumstances surrounding the failure to communicate his absence to the President in a timely manner during his recent hospitalization.” The hearing can be watched on YouTube:

11 COMMENTS

  1. So he dropped off the face of the earth, told no one, and everything was fine? Alrighty. Proof the idiot is unnecessary and should be terminated.

  2. Good thing nothing happened during January 2-5, 2024…oh wait stuff that the Secretary of Defense should be involved with did happen and the Deputy Secretary of Defense didn’tknow why she was now acting Secretary and Congress the and President didn’t even know there was an acting Secretary since the actual Secretary of Defense was out of commission. But nothing to see here.

    The guy should retire and enjoy his remaining days while battling for his life, didn’t he just recently go back into the hospital?

  3. Secretary Austin doesn’t seem to be the sharpest occupant of the top tier of the Pentagon. It was painful to watch him at an outdoor review of troops wearing surgical mask and a plastic face shield as if they are effective against air borne pathogens. Not surprisingly, the troops did not wear any face protection. More inexplicable is his apparent attitude that a recent surgery was a ‘private matter’ that should be ‘respected’. Now the Defense Department is scrambling to explain that it was no ‘biggie’ that SedDef was anesthetized and therefore ‘unavailable’ for prime duty of protecting this country. All this without notifying his boss, the President, for days. Of course there isn’t much difference between Secretary Austin under anesthesia and President Biden attend to his daily duties. All in all, this is just another reminder of the caliper of personnel within this administration at the highest levels.

  4. So, the DoD, led by Austin, conducted an investigation into the DoD, and found out the DoD did nothing wrong.
    Got it. Sounds legit.

  5. Looks like Austin is thinner after his hospital visits. Maybe he was in for intestinal reduction surgery to combat his obesity!

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