Defense Secretary’s Hospitalization Status Is Being Hidden

( – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently spent four days in a hospital intensive care unit. The official reportedly suffered complications from a previous elective procedure, the details of which have remained undisclosed. He missed several days of work beginning on January 1, 2024, but no one bothered to tell anyone in the White House about his absence for another three days.

Austin was admitted on the evening of New Year’s Day, according to the US Department of Defense, which shared a statement from Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary. The defense secretary improved over the next few days and was able to resume working from his hospital room on Friday evening.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, who fills in for Austin when he’s unable to perform his duties, happened to be vacationing in Puerto Rico when he fell out of commission. She picked up the work remotely, but Department of Defense Chief of Staff Kelly Magsamen, who should have passed along the vital information, didn’t tell her that Austin was in the hospital until January 4. A handful of other people knew as well. Gen. CQ Brown, who serves as joint chiefs chair, became aware of the situation on January 2, but also kept the information private.

POLITICO reports that not even President Joe Biden knew about the absence. The publication adds that most Pentagon employees and military personnel heard the news about two hours before the public did, and members of Congress learned about it only about 15 minutes in advance.

Meanwhile, tensions in the Middle East have continued to escalate. And while Austin was secretly sitting in a hospital bed, the US was conducting strikes against an Islamic terrorist group in Baghdad.

The defense secretary issued a public statement on January 6 acknowledging, without accepting any wrongdoing, that he could have worked harder to ensure he hadn’t left anyone in the dark.

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