Pentagon inspector general announces review of Austin hospitalization, notification

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks to the press on August 18, 2021, on the Pentagon in Washington, DC. 

Olivier Douliery | Afp | Getty Images

The Defense Department’s inspector general has launched a proper investigation into Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s failure to notify the White House and Congress of his emergency hospitalization.

The inspector general will “assess whether or not the DoD’s insurance policies and procedures are enough” to make sure correct communication when senior management is unavailable for medical or different causes.

The inspector general is impartial from the Pentagon, and requested that Austin, “designate a employees member to function our level of contact” by Jan. 16.

For not less than three days, Austin failed to inform President Joe Biden and Congress that he had been admitted to the intensive care unit for issues following prostate most cancers surgical procedure.

During that point, Austin transferred sure operational tasks to his second-in-command. But for a number of days, Austin didn’t inform his deputy, who was in Puerto Rico on the time, that he had transferred authority to her.

In a statement Jan. 5, Austin stated that he, “might have achieved a greater job guaranteeing the general public was appropriately knowledgeable.”

“This was my medical process, and I take full accountability for my selections about disclosure,” he added.

As of Thursday, Austin remained within the hospital, however had been moved out of ICU.

Lawmakers in each the House and the Senate have launched their very own inquiries into the incident, particularly requesting particulars on the switch of Austin’s duties to his deputy. Biden’s Chief of Staff Jeff Zients additionally notified the president’s cupboard of a review of processes for when cupboard members switch authority.

Austin obtained the preliminary prostate most cancers surgical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 22 the place he was beneath general anesthesia for a number of hours. At first, he appeared to be recovering nicely, docs stated.

But on Jan. 1, he was rushed again to Walter Reed and later admitted to the intensive care unit after he started experiencing “nausea and extreme belly, hip and leg ache.” Doctors discovered belly fluid build-up that had compromised the operate of his small intestines.

The National Security Council and President Joe Biden solely discovered in regards to the hospital keep on Jan. 4. They weren’t knowledgeable about his most cancers analysis, or the rationale for his hospitalization. till one other week after that.

The lack of transparency despatched shockwaves by means of the halls of Washington. Several lawmakers have known as on Austin to resign. The Pentagon and the White House insist the secretary won’t step down.

Austin’s private medical emergency occurred throughout a very fraught week in overseas affairs because the U.S. thought-about, amongst different issues, whether or not to launch air strikes to discourage additional Houthi assaults on business ships within the Red Sea. The U.S. additionally carried out a lethal drone strike in Baghdad in opposition to an Iranian-backed militia chief.

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