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Pentagon On Why US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin Hid Cancer From President Joe Biden

The White House was not informed of Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization until January 4th. (File)

Washington:

The Pentagon said Monday that the secrecy surrounding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s cancer treatment was driven in part by privacy concerns, but that it found no evidence of intentional wrongdoing or obfuscation.

Austin controversially kept his prostate cancer diagnosis secret from US President Joe Biden for weeks, but told his commander and Congress days after he was hospitalized on January 1 due to complications from treatment. I wasn’t informed until then.

“Nothing examined in this investigation indicates any malicious intent or attempt to cover up,” the Pentagon said last month in a summary of the unclassified investigation ordered by Austin’s chief of staff.

However, “medical privacy laws prohibit health care providers from openly sharing medical information with secretarial staff,” and staff members also “are reluctant to pry or share information they learn.” The investigation report found that

The brief also said there was a “lack of an established methodology for making unplanned decisions” to transfer authority from the chief to the deputy, which “may have contributed to the lack of comprehensive information sharing about the situation.” “There is,” he said.

Austin, a 70-year-old military veteran, underwent a minor surgery to treat cancer on Dec. 22 and returned home the next day.

However, on January 1, he was readmitted to the hospital after complaining of complications such as nausea and severe pain.

The White House was not informed of Austin’s hospitalization until January 4, Congress was not informed until the next day, and Biden did not learn of the cancer diagnosis until January 9.

Various Republicans have called for Austin to be removed from office, but Biden has supported him. Mr. Austin apologized for his secrecy regarding his own treatment earlier this month.

The Defense Secretary was admitted again to the hospital on February 11 and was treated under general anesthesia due to bladder problems.

The public reported the incident about two hours after the incident, and the Pentagon announced that all military, White House, and Congressional personnel had been notified. Austin was discharged from the hospital two days later.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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