Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary, Discharged from Hospital Amid Controversial Secrecy Allegations

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, diagnosed with prostate cancer, underwent a recommended procedure in December. Experiencing an unexpected complication, he was readmitted to the hospital within two weeks, spending several days in intensive care.

The New York Post reported his Jan. 1 hospitalization for severe pain from a urinary tract infection linked to the Dec. 22 prostatectomy. Criticism has arisen for Austin’s failure to disclose his hospitalization to Congress, the White House, or his undersecretary.

After spending two weeks back at Walter Reed Medical Center, the beleaguered Secretary of Defense has now returned home. Congressional members, already displeased with Austin’s management of Afghanistan, Iran, and the southern border, swiftly criticized his failure to communicate his health status properly.

Calls for his resignation intensified as some Representatives argued that quietly transferring limited authority to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks on January 2, while she was vacationing in Puerto Rico, without notifying the White House or Congressional officials, amounted to a dereliction of duty.

The Pentagon disclosed Austin’s intensive care unit hospitalization on the evening of Jan. 5, acknowledging it days later. In a statement, physicians mentioned that the 70-year-old Austin has been discharged and will be working remotely for a while.

Apologizing for not adhering to communication protocols, Austin expressed gratitude for the excellent care received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, thanking the doctors and nursing staff for their professionalism and superb support.

“I also am thankful and appreciative for all the well wishes I received for a speedy recovery,” Austin continued. “Now, as I continue to recuperate and perform my duties from home, I’m eager to fully recover and return as quickly as possible to the Pentagon.”

President Biden criticized Austin for the protocol breach but affirmed his support for the Secretary. In response to a Pennsylvania reporter’s inquiry about confidence in Austin, Biden stated, “I do.” Last Friday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby conveyed on MSNBC, “We’re all going to learn from this event… the defense secretary is going to stay in office.”