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White House to review Lloyd Austin's lack of transparency on health

Austin's failure to promptly disclose his hospitalization left President Joe Biden and other high-ranking officials in the dark.
White House to review Lloyd Austin's lack of transparency on health
Posted at 2:17 PM, Jan 08, 2024

The White House has announced that the administration will examine the “process and procedure” that took place when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin failed to disclose his hospitalization for several days.

“We'll do what's akin to a hot wash and try to see if processes and procedures need to be changed at all or modified so that we can learn from this," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday.

The situation unfolded when Austin failed to disclose his hospitalization promptly, leaving President Joe Biden and other high-ranking officials uninformed about the development. Notably, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks assumed Austin's responsibilities without being informed about his hospitalization either.

Information about Austin's hospitalization became public on Friday, Jan. 5. The disclosure revealed that Austin had been admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Jan. 1 due to complications following a recent elective medical procedure.

But it wasn't until Sunday, Jan. 7, that the Pentagon provided further clarification, explaining that after a medical procedure on Dec. 22 and a day at home, Austin was admitted to intensive care on Jan. 1 when he started experiencing severe pain. However, the statement, obtained by The Associated Press, did not specify the nature of the procedure, and as of Monday, Jan. 8, this is all the information that the Pentagon has provided to the public. 

“I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better. But this is important to say: This was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure," Austin said in a statement Saturday.

According to the White House, President Biden has no intention of dismissing Austin from his job, expressing appreciation for his statement in which he took responsibility for the lack of transparency.

“There is no plan for anything other than for Secretary Austin to stay in the job and continue the leadership that he’s been demonstrating,” said Kirby.

SEE MORE: Defense secretary faces scrutiny for not disclosing hospitalization

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