Senator Calls For Briefing Over Austin’s Hospitalization

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Roger Wicker, has slammed the Biden administration for its “shocking defiance of the law” after the Pentagon failed to disclose Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization for several days. This failure to disclose crucial information to the president, National Security Council, and Congress has caused concern and raised multiple questions about the transparency and trustworthiness of the administration.

In a statement, Wicker expressed his relief that Austin is in improved condition and wished him a speedy recovery. However, he emphasized that it is unacceptable for the Department of Defense to deliberately withhold the Secretary of Defense’s medical condition for days. This lack of accountability and transparency is a cause for concern, especially when it involves one of the country’s two National Command Authorities.

Wicker pointed out that the American public has a right to know the full extent of the circumstances when a top government official is unable to perform their duties. This includes military families who have a vested interest in the leadership of the Department of Defense. The fact that the Pentagon did not disclose the details of Austin’s hospitalization is not only a breach of trust but also a violation of the law.

The delayed notification of Austin’s hospitalization is not an isolated incident. Wicker mentioned two other instances where the Biden administration failed to inform the public in a timely fashion – the Chinese spy balloon and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This pattern of withholding information is deeply concerning and further erodes trust in the administration.

Wicker also raised questions about the decision-making process that led to this lack of disclosure. It is unclear why the notification process was not followed, who made the determination to withhold information, and what role the Secretary of Defense’s staff played in this decision. This raises questions about the competency and transparency of Austin’s team.

The Senator also questioned when exactly President Biden was notified of Austin’s hospitalization. This is a crucial detail as the President would need to be informed of any potential incapacitation of a top national security official. The fact that this information was not communicated promptly is alarming.

To make matters worse, Wicker also highlighted that Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, who was ready to assume Austin’s duties, was on vacation in Puerto Rico during his hospitalization. This raises concerns about the contingency plan in place in such situations and points to a lack of preparedness within the Department of Defense.

Wicker concluded by emphasizing that the lack of information and communication from the Department of Defense is an indictment of the Biden administration’s contempt for Congressional authority on national defense matters. He called for an immediate briefing from the administration to provide a full accounting of the facts surrounding Austin’s hospitalization.

In the face of a global pandemic and multiple security threats, the American public needs a government that is transparent, accountable, and trustworthy. The Biden administration’s failure to disclose crucial information about the Secretary of Defense’s health has raised red flags and undermined public confidence in the leadership of the Department of Defense.