Defense Secretary Llyod Austin Summoned to Testify on Enigmatic Hospitalization
The House Armed Services Committee has formally requested Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to testify publicly on February 14, 2024, at 10 a.m.
The request comes in response to concerns about Austin’s failure to disclose his hospitalization after experiencing complications from prostate cancer.
House Committee Condemns Lack of Transparency
The committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, expressed its dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency surrounding Austin’s hospitalization and the subsequent notification process.
Rogers sent a letter to Austin, emphasizing the need for candid and complete answers regarding the decisions made to withhold information about the cabinet secretary’s whereabouts.
“Congress must understand what happened and who made decisions to prevent the disclosure of the whereabouts of a cabinet secretary,” Rogers wrote in the letter. “Your unwillingness to provide candid and complete answers necessitates calling a Full Committee hearing on February 14, 2024, where the Committee expects to hear your direct testimony regarding decisions made to withhold information from the President, Congress, and the American people.”
Rogers Concerned About Llyod Austin’s Hospitalization Disclosure
The Pentagon has faced criticism for its lack of transparency regarding Austin’s hospitalization and a communication lapse that left top officials and the White House uninformed for days.
As a response to these concerns, the Pentagon initiated a 30-day review of the notification process, with the Defense Department inspector general conducting a separate investigation.
Chairman Rogers revealed that, during a recent phone conversation with Austin, the Secretary did not provide sufficient answers to important questions about the situation.
Rogers expressed alarm over Austin’s refusal to clarify whether he instructed his staff not to inform the President or anyone else of his hospitalization, leading him to believe that information is being withheld from Congress.
Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Jurgensen confirmed on Friday that the department had received Rogers’ request. Jurgensen stated that the Pentagon is committed to working with the committee to meet its legislative needs and will respond to congressional requests appropriately, including requests for the Secretary to testify.
As the controversy unfolds, the public awaits the upcoming testimony and hopes for clarity on the decisions surrounding the disclosure of Secretary Austin’s hospitalization.
The incident underscores the importance of transparency in matters involving top government officials and their health-related disclosures.