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‘I Can’t Answer That’: Sec Def Austin Dodges On Who Was Behind Keeping Americans In Dark About Illness

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin did not say during Thursday’s hearing who was behind the decision not to inform the American public about his illness.

Mr. Austin did not disclose his hospitalization in January, sparking anger and concern about a breakdown in the Department of Defense’s (Department of Defense) control. Rep. Michael Walz, R-Florida, pressed Austin on who at the Defense Department made the decision not to release the documents to the public, but the secretary of defense said he had no idea whether the decision had been made or not. ignored. (Related: Unprecedented situation: Pentagon Spox struggles to explain Secretary of Defense’s actions during unidentified hospital visit)

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“Who made that decision? [the assistant secretary for public affairs] Why not let the American people know? ” Waltz asked.

Austin replied, “I can’t answer that.”

30-day internal review found After Mr. Austin was admitted to the hospital on January 1st and transferred to the critical care unit on January 2nd, the Secretary of Defense’s authority was transferred to his deputy without interruption of command over the Department of Defense, where he was responsible for secure communications. It was said that it could not be accessed. .

“Did the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs decide?” Walz asked, and Austin stammered in his response.

“We just did a 30-day review,” Waltz continued. “Don’t you know who made the decision not to inform the American people?”

“I know he was the second to notice.” [of January]” Austin said. “I don’t know what the decision-making process was…I don’t know if there was a decision not to inform the public.”

An unclassified summary of the Pentagon’s internal investigation released Monday denied that there was any deliberate cover-up of Austin’s illness or hospitalization. Privacy laws and Austin’s uncertain medical situation led to confusion among staff about how to manage the emergency admission.

Republican Representative Jim Banks of Indiana told Austin he had “embarrassed” the country during four minutes of questioning at the hearing.

“Our enemies should fear us. And what you did embarrassed us,” Banks said.

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