Pentagon inspector general announces review of Austin hospital, notice

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks to the press on August 18, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Olivier Douliery | Afp | Getty Images

The Defense Department’s inspector general has launched a formal investigation into Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s failure to notify the White House and Congress of his emergency hospitalization.

The inspector general will “assess whether DoD policies and procedures are adequate” to ensure proper communication when senior leadership is unavailable for medical or other reasons. In other words, the Pentagon watchdog wants to make sure Austin’s lack of transparency never happens again.

For at least three days, Austin failed to tell President Joe Biden and Congress that he had been admitted to the intensive care unit for complications from prostate cancer surgery. Austin delegated some operational responsibilities to his second-in-command, but did not tell his deputy that he had that authority for several days.

The lack of transparency sent shockwaves through the halls of Washington. Several lawmakers called on Austin to resign. The Pentagon and the White House insist the secretary will not resign.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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