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Sec Def Austin dodges who was behind keeping Americans in the dark about the disease

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin did not answer who was behind the decision not to inform the American people about his illness during a hearing on Thursday.

Austin didn't reveal his hospitalization in January, sparking anger and concerns about a breakdown in Department of Defense (DOD) control. Republican Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida pressed Austin about who made the decision in the department not to disclose it to the public, but the defense secretary declined to respond, saying he did not know if a decision had been made.


“For whom he made the decision [the assistant secretary for public affairs] for not informing the American people?” Waltz asked.

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

A 30-day internal review Found that the defense secretary's authorities were transferred to his deputy without a break in Pentagon command once Austin was admitted to the hospital on January 1 and was transferred to the intensive care unit on January 2, where he did not have access to secure communications.

“Did the Under Secretary of Public Affairs make the decision?” Waltz asked, to which Austin began to babble in response.

“You just did a 30-day review,” Waltz continued. “You don't know who made the decision not to tell the American people?”

“I know he was conscious in the second [of January]” Austin said. “I don't know what the decision-making process was … I'm not sure there was a decision not to inform the public.”

An unclassified summary of the Pentagon's internal review, disclosed On Monday, he denied there was any intentional cover-up of Austin's illness or hospitalization. Privacy Laws and Austin uncertain The medical circumstance caused confusion among staff about how to handle his emergency hospitalization, he said.

Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana he said Austin “embarrassed” the United States during his four minutes of questioning at the hearing.

“Our adversaries must fear us. And what you have done shames us,” Banks said.

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