For a person who needed to maintain his medical points personal, Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin has managed a botch job that’s on par by way of incompetence — if not maybe in influence — with the Pentagon’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
Austin, as you little doubt have heard (regardless of his makes an attempt to maintain that info from nearly everybody, together with the president he serves) was recognized with prostate cancer final month. After present process a prostatectomy, he was readmitted to the hospital on Jan. 1 and ended up within the intensive care unit.
In the meantime, everybody apparently thought the man was working from house — and, in keeping with The Wall Street Journal, Deputy Secretary of Protection Kathy Hicks didn’t even know he was hospitalized till 4 days after she had assumed a few of his duties. (Whereas she was on scheduled depart in Puerto Rico, it’s value noting.)
President Joe Biden, in the meantime, didn’t discover out in regards to the secretary’s most cancers analysis till Jan. 9 — the identical day that the Division of Protection revealed it to the world in a press release.
“On December 22, 2023, after session together with his medical staff, [Austin] was admitted to Walter Reed Nationwide Army Medical Heart and underwent a minimally invasive surgical process known as a prostatectomy to deal with and treatment prostate most cancers,” the DOD news release learn.
“On January 2, the choice was made to switch him to the ICU for shut monitoring and a better degree of care. Additional analysis revealed belly fluid collections impairing the operate of his small intestines. … Throughout this keep, Secretary Austin by no means misplaced consciousness and by no means underwent normal anesthesia.”
This week, The Daily Beast obtained audio of the 911 call positioned by one among Austin’s aides — that means they, too, had been a part of the cover-up. Within the audio, the aide requested that first responders “stay a bit refined” as they approached Austin’s residence.
So, for a person who says he was simply making an attempt to have a little bit of privateness whereas Houthi rebels had been attacking American ships, Hamas and Israel had been nonetheless at struggle, so had been Ukraine and Russia, and relations between Taiwan and China had been threatening to worsen significantly over Taiwan’s Jan. 13 general election, we now know:
1) What his medical situation was.
2) The intricate particulars of why he was readmitted to the hospital.
3) The aides who lied for him.
4) The quantity of people that ought to have been knowledgeable however reportedly weren’t.
5) How ill-prepared everybody in Austin’s orbit was to maintain this a secret.
And now, he’ll doubtless should testify in entrance of Congress in regards to the debacle — presumably the worst information he may get to place a cherry on prime of this catastrophe sundae. Strategy to maintain issues personal, Secretary Austin.
Based on The Hill, Home Armed Providers Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican, despatched Austin a letter requesting his testimony on Capitol Hill on Feb. 14 concerning his absence.
“When you did reply to a few of my questions I had for you, a regarding variety of questions weren’t addressed,” the congressman wrote.
“Particularly, I’m alarmed you refused to reply whether or not you instructed your employees to not inform the President of the USA or anybody else of your hospitalization,” he mentioned. “Sadly, this leads me to imagine that info is being withheld from Congress.
“Congress should perceive what occurred and who made selections to stop the disclosure of the whereabouts of a cupboard secretary. Your unwillingness to supply candid and full solutions necessitates calling a Full Committee listening to on February 14, 2024, the place the Committee expects to listen to your direct testimony concerning selections made to withhold info from the President, Congress, and the American individuals.”
Based on Rogers’ letter, a complete of 18 questions posed to Austin, Hicks and Austin’s chief of employees, Kelly Magsamen, had gone unanswered.
The congressman mentioned Austin didn’t present an accounting of “orders or directions issued by you or a member of your employees to tell or not inform every other individual of your hospitalization or medical situation” or a “detailed account of your actions and intent in transferring your duties to Deputy Secretary Hicks and the context conveyed to her in regards to the purpose for the switch of duties.”
He additionally didn’t specify what military operations had been “carried out in the USA Central Command space of duty throughout any interval from December 22, 2023 to January 5, 2024, whereas you weren’t appearing within the function of Secretary of Protection,” or whether or not there have been different intervals “that coincided with medical procedures or different medical actions rendering you unable to carry out such duties” throughout his time as secretary, the letter mentioned.
Hicks, in the meantime, didn’t specify whether or not she was “given a timeline or indication of how lengthy the switch of authority to her as appearing Secretary of Protection would final” or when she was “first conscious that the President didn’t know that you simply had been within the hospital.”
Magsamen — who performs a important function within the Austin affair as a result of her alleged bout with the flu was what reportedly stymied communication to White Home officers that Austin was within the hospital — didn’t specify the interval she was out with the flu or whether or not she despatched official correspondence whereas she was purportedly sick, two questions Rogers mentioned he requested in his letter to her.
“This can be a time of immense world instability,” the congressman wrote. “Our nation deserves dependable management on the Division. Sustaining essentially the most prepared and deadly power potential requires that everybody within the nationwide safety group be capable to rely on the Secretary of Protection’s availability and transparency.
“Regrettably, you haven’t exhibited these attributes all through this most up-to-date string of occasions.
“Due to this fact, you’re invited to testify earlier than the Home Committee on Armed Providers at a listening to on February 14, 2024, at 10:00 a.m., in room 2118 of Rayburn Home Workplace Constructing. I recognize your willingness to seem earlier than the committee and stay up for your testimony.”
If and when Austin does seem earlier than the House Armed Services Committee, it gained’t simply be a partisan bicker-fest. At the least two committee Democrats have known as for Austin’s dismissal.
In a Wednesday publish on X, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chris Deluzio mentioned, “I’ve misplaced belief in Secretary Lloyd Austin’s management of the Protection Division as a result of lack of transparency about his current medical therapy and its influence on the continuity of the chain of command.”
“I’ve a solemn obligation in Congress to conduct oversight of the Protection Division by way of my service on the Home Armed Providers Committee. That obligation right now requires me to name on Secretary Austin to resign,” he continued. “I thank Secretary Austin for his management and years of devoted service to the American individuals and want him a speedy restoration.”
I’ve misplaced belief in Secretary Lloyd Austin’s management of the Protection Division as a result of lack of transparency about his current medical therapy and its influence on the continuity of the chain of command.
— Congressman Chris Deluzio (@RepDeluzio) January 10, 2024
I thank Secretary Austin for his management and years of devoted service to the American individuals and want him a speedy restoration.
— Congressman Chris Deluzio (@RepDeluzio) January 10, 2024
On Thursday, Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts — a Marine Corps vet who served in Iraq — mentioned on “The Hill” on NewsNation that, if he had been president, Austin can be gone.
“It’s as much as the president as as to if he fires Secretary Austin, however I inform you what, he must ship a decisive message that that is by no means gonna occur once more,” Moulton mentioned. “I might hearth him in about 5 minutes.”
It hardly issues, at this level, what the reasoning behind Austin’s secrecy was. Not solely does it underscore the very fact the Biden administration’s gerontocracy needs to maintain pretending age and well being don’t matter, but it surely additionally highlights the risks that one among its highest-ranking members was keen to place the nation in to maintain up that facade.
And now, after going to such nice lengths to keep up “privateness,” Austin faces the prospect of not solely revealing his medical situation in public congressional testimony, but in addition explaining to the nation why he primarily went AWOL on America.
This text appeared initially on The Western Journal.