In a startling revelation reported by Bloomberg and European Pravda, US President Joe Biden was kept in the dark for four days about the hospitalization of the Pentagon Chief, Lloyd Austin.
This unusual lapse in communication within the highest ranks of the US government has raised eyebrows in both the White House and Congress.
Lloyd Austin, who was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center on New Year's Eve due to severe pain following a medical examination in late December, did not instruct his staff to inform other officials about his hospitalization. Adding to the communication breakdown, Austin's Chief of Staff, Kelly Magsamen, who was also ill with the flu, failed to communicate this crucial information.
As a result, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was quickly appointed by Austin's military aide to oversee the Pentagon's operations, though she was not briefed on the reason behind this sudden decision. According to sources, this series of missteps did not violate any protocols and posed no threat to national security.
Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder clarified that Austin had been actively receiving operational information and issuing necessary instructions to his team since his admission to the hospital. He was even provided with an electronic version of the President's daily briefing.
Despite the operational continuity, the lack of transparency regarding Austin's health status and the delegation of his duties has sparked criticism. The Pentagon Correspondents' Association condemned the late disclosure of the Defense Secretary's health issues, emphasizing the public's right to be informed about the health of government officials, especially when it affects their capacity to perform official duties.
In light of the incident, Austin, recovering from his undisclosed medical complications, acknowledged the need for better public communication. He assured that he had no plans to resign over the incident, understanding the importance of keeping the public informed about such significant matters.
This incident underscores the critical need for robust and clear communication channels within the government, particularly concerning the health of key officials. President Biden, who spoke with Austin two days after being briefed on his health, expressed full trust in the Defense Secretary, reaffirming the administration's commitment to transparency and accountability.