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House Panel Launches Probe Into Defense Secretary Going AWOL

via PBS NewsHour
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A House panel has initiated a formal inquiry into the hospitalization of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, following concerns about the lack of transparency and communication regarding his absence and health status.

The inquiry aims to understand the handling of the situation, especially as critical decisions depend on the Secretary’s capacity.

“My colleagues and I have grave concerns about the handling of your absence and hospitalization. It is unacceptable that neither the Department of Defense (‘Department’), the White House, nor the Congress were accurately informed of your position or capacity. With wars in Ukraine and Israel, the idea that the White House and even your own Deputy did not understand the nature of your condition is patently unacceptable,” Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers wrote. (Trending: First Moon Mission In 50 Years Blasts Off)

“Everything from on-going counterterrorism operations to nuclear command and control relies on a clear understanding of the Secretary’s decision-making capacity,” Rogers added.

“The Department is a robust institution, and it is designed to function under attack by our enemies, but it is not designed for a Secretary who conceals being incapacitated.”

Austin admitted he 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.”

The Department of Defense has announced its own internal review to improve timely notification to the White House and Congress.

While some have called for Austin’s resignation, President Biden has expressed complete confidence in him, despite acknowledging the lack of information about his hospitalization.

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