Defense Secretary Austin’s Health in Question After Secret Hospital Procedure

( – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin failed to inform the White House of his prostate cancer, the initial December 2023 surgery for the procedure, and he failed to tell the White House that he has been back in the hospital since January 1st of this year. This failure to alert the chain of command has officials asking if national security may be at risk.

But as it usually does, the Biden administration has refused to say anything negative about one of its own, preferring to circle the wagons. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre claims Austin still enjoys the President’s “complete confidence.” John Kirby of the National Security Council said there are no intentions to replace Austin, and one unnamed administration official said Biden and Austin had a “warm” conversation on January 7th.

President Joe Biden himself knew nothing of Austin’s prostate cancer or the fact that Austin underwent surgery in December, until January 9th. The Pentagon had refused to disclose why Austin was in the hospital up to that point, likely because officials themselves did not know.

Lloyd Austin had surgery for the cancer at Walter Reed Hospital on December 22nd, during which time he was under general anesthesia. Then on the first of the year, Austin experienced intense pain in his abdomen, hip, and leg. The pain was later discovered to be caused by a urinary tract infection.

On January 2nd, Austin was re-admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit where he received further treatment for problems with his intestines.

Some lawmakers have called for the Defense Secretary to step down, saying it is unacceptable to be secretive about health problems that have national security implications. As Defense Secretary, Austin is sixth in line to the presidency. He did not tell the White House about his January 2 emergency hospitalization until January 4.

Predictably for this administration, Pentagon officials are discussing the issue lightly, as if it were a mere breach of etiquette. Air Force Major General Pat Ryder, speaking for the Pentagon, said Austin had “taken responsibility for the issues with transparency,” though what that may mean specifically, or why it should be reassuring, is not clear.

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