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HomeWorld NewsUS Defense Secretary did not inform Biden government about his hospitalization

US Defense Secretary did not inform Biden government about his hospitalization

New Delhi: The White House was not informed for several days that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized, according to two US officials, The New York Times reports. Senior defense officials said Austin did not inform them until Thursday that he had been admitted to the intensive care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

According to reports, Austin has accepted responsibility for the lack of communication. “I recognize that I could have done a better job of ensuring the public was properly informed. I am committed to doing better,” Austin said in a statement, the BBC reported.

Following a minor elective medical surgery, Austin, 70, remained hospitalized due to complications, according to his press secretary, Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

“The White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were informed of Austin’s hospitalization, but they did not say when it happened,” Ryder said.

“The congressman received the news late Friday afternoon. According to other officials and lawmakers, he received the news just after 5 p.m. Although it was unclear when members of Austin’s senior leadership team were notified, the department released “When news of Austin’s hospitalization spread through the Pentagon, a statement after 5 p.m. led many to think Austin had gone out on a week’s leave,” he said.

US defense officials said, “Many senior service leaders were unaware that Austin was in the hospital until Friday, after President Joe Biden and other senior White House staff were told.”

According to reports, US Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks was also away when Austin was hospitalized.

Austin continued, “This was my medical process and I take full responsibility for my decision regarding disclosure.”

Austin is believed to be still hospitalized, but he resumed full duty on Friday, a Defense Department spokesman said, quoted by AFP news agency.

However, it is not yet clear how much responsibilities he is able to handle due to his illness.

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