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Pentagon Official Criticizes Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for Hospitalization Communication Lapse, While Others Defend ‘Unintentional Mistake

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Pentagon authorities are concerned about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s choice to conceal his prostate cancer surgery and complications from President Joe Biden. One official termed it “reckless and irresponsible,” while another backed Austin, saying it was a communications breakdown-related mistake. Austin’s health was unknown throughout crucial national security events in Ukraine and the Middle East, prompting bipartisan criticism and Republican calls for his resignation.

Photo from Google

Controversy Surrounds Defense Secretary Austin’s Secret Prostate Cancer Surgery

Austin had prostate cancer surgery on December 22 without telling Biden or his team, causing controversy. The Pentagon said critical staff members were unavailable, causing communication issues. Austin’s public affairs head, Chris Meagher, was seeing his pregnant wife, while Kelly Magsamen, the chief of staff, had the flu.

Austin was readmitted to the hospital on January 1 due to complications, and acute discomfort necessitated emergency transport. Administration transparency was questioned when the White House was alerted on January 4. Austin revealed his prostate cancer diagnosis on January 9 following days of speculation.

While President Biden supported Austin, the mismanagement generated legal concerns. Officials said Austin may have broken a vacancy reporting statute by failing to notify Congress and the Comptroller General of his absence. Legal repercussions for such transgressions are unknown. After the incident, the White House urged cabinet secretaries to warn the administration of potential incapacities. Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients instructed officials to notify the White House when a delegation of responsibility happens due to travel, hospitalization, or other conditions.

READ ALSO: Trump’s Touted COVID ‘Miracle’ Drug Linked To 17,000 Deaths, Contradicting Medical Studies On Effectiveness

Pentagon Initiates Internal Review After Austin’s Health Disclosure Controversy

The Pentagon acknowledged notice of process flaws and began internal assessments to improve communication. Chief of Staff Magsamen ordered a 30-day investigation into Austin’s hospitalization. The inquiry would create a timeframe and investigate decision-making processes for telling officials about Austin’s condition.

Austin’s health treatment has been compared to the Marine Corps’ openness about Gen. Eric Smith’s open heart surgery. The scandal has raised questions about how to better alert the public and chain of command about key leaders’ health. Austin continues as chief of the U.S. armed forces, with the White House promising to learn from the incident and improve notification systems.

Republican Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale stated his plan to impeach Austin for office breaches connected to the Afghanistan drawdown, a Chinese spy balloon incident, and his health disclosure. Democrats like Sen. Jack Reed have also criticized the lack of openness and called for responsibility to prevent repeat incidents.

READ ALSO: The Global Threat Of Mosquito-Borne Illness Is Addressed By Island Pharmaceuticals’ Adaptation Of Existing Medication.

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