Pentagon Releases Investigation – One America News Network

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 22: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting at the Pentagon on November 22, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. Austin gave opening remarks to participating members including foreign ministers and secretary of states. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting at the Pentagon on November 22, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
5:10 PM – Monday, February 26, 2024

An internal review has blamed privacy limitations and staff skepticism for the Pentagon’s failure to quickly inform the president and other leaders about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization.


According to an internal review released by the Pentagon on Monday, privacy restrictions and staff reluctance are to blame for the failure to alert United States President Joe Biden and additional officials regarding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s prostate cancer and subsequent hospitalization for surgical complications. 

According to an unclassified summary of the review, medical privacy regulations restricted the information that medical professionals could share with Austin’s staff, limiting the amount of information that they could share.

Jennifer Walsh, the Pentagon’s director of administration and management, performed the evaluation. However, it made no mention of staff members receiving sanctions or reprimands. 

Austin’s staff, who conducted the review, essentially cleared Austin of any misconduct regarding the secrecy surrounding his hospitalization, which included multiple days spent in the intensive care unit. According to Austin’s prior statements, he did tell his staff members to conceal information concerning his health.

Furthermore, the review states flatly that “no indication of ill intent or an attempt to obfuscate” existed.

“There was no finding of ill-intent or an attempt to obfuscate,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, stated on Monday.

The 30-day review of the lapse, which infuriated the White House and a number of congress members who made their grievances known, concluded that when Austin is forced to give decision-making responsibilities to the deputy, protocols must be strengthened and information should be communicated better.

On Thursday, Austin is scheduled to appear before the House on Capitol Hill, where he is likely to face harsh criticism. The inspector general of the Defense Department is also performing a review, which has not yet been finished.

Austin underwent surgery on December 22nd, 2023, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis in early December. He was reportedly in severe pain when he was brought back to Walter Reed by ambulance on January 1st, 2024, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit the following day.

As a result, Austin transferred his decision-making authorities to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks during his first surgery and again when he was in intensive care. However, according to reports, he did not explain to her or the White House administration what the reason was for his departure.

Officials from the Pentagon recognized that while they were informed on January 2nd that Austin had been admitted to the hospital, public relations and defense aides chose not to disclose the information to the public or the National Security Council until January 4th. It took four additional days after that for the explanation for hospitalization to be revealed.

On Monday, a set of proposed modifications and an unclassified summary of the review were shared by defense officials. According to the investigation, there was no standard procedure for dealing with the situation, and the fact that his hospital stay was “unplanned” purportedly added to the reason why “no one was informed about it.”

In addition, the summary stated that Austin’s staff was restricted by medical privacy laws that limited doctors from sharing information and they “were hesitant to pry or share any information they did learn.” It continued, explaining that they were unable to guarantee “timely secured communications” since Austin’s health was “in flux.” 

On February 8th, the 30-day review was completed and submitted to Austin. However, only sections of it were publicly shared. The Pentagon has asserted that parts of the report are still confidential.

After he returned to work, Austin admitted that he should have handled the situation differently and apologized for keeping Biden and others in the dark, but he assured the public that he never instructed his staff to keep his surgery and hospitalization a secret from the White House. 

In addition, Austin denied that his office had a culture of secrecy and added that staff members might have thought that “they’re doing things in my best interest.”

Strengthened protocols for the transfer of authority and stronger reporting requirements during those particular situations are included in the proposed changes.

As a result, the White House released new protocols in response to the concealment of Austin’s hospitalizations, making sure that it will be notified whenever a Cabinet head transfers decision-making authority when they are unavailable for any reason.

Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Share this post!

Source link

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.