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  • Finding unlikely to appease members of Congress
  • Many lawmakers called for Austin to resign
  • Austin testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on Feb.  29

The Pentagon found no ‘ill intent’ in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin keeping his hospital stay a secret, it concluded in its internal review.

‘Nothing examined during this review demonstrated any indication of ill intent or an attempt to obfuscate,’ the department concluded in its internal review. The unclassified portion was released on Monday.

It found concerns about medical privacy and a rapidly changing situation were mostly to blame for why Austin’s hospitalization was kept from President Joe Biden, senior Pentagon officials and the public.

The Pentagon found no 'ill intent' in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin keeping his hospital stay a secret

The Pentagon found no ‘ill intent’ in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin keeping his hospital stay a secret 

Inspector General Robert Storch led the review. When announcing it, he said his office would examine any breaches of protocol surrounding Austin’s surgery for prostrate cancer, his rehospitalization for complications and the lack of disclosure to the White House and general public. 

Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch led the independent review

Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch led the independent review

The finding is unlikely to satisfy members of Congress, many of whom called for Austin’s resignation.

Austin is scheduled to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 29.

Austin had surgery on December 22 for prostate cancer and left the hospital the next day. 

He returned to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 1st but didn’t tell President Biden of his whereabouts until Jan. 4th. He also hadn’t told his top deputy, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.

Austin didn’t disclose the cause of his surgery – his prostate cancer – until Jan. 9th after facing days of questions about his hospitalization. Biden learned about it the same day as the general public.

His complications included ‘nausea with severe abdominal, leg and hip pain.’ The early diagnosis was a urinary tract infection but further examination showed Austin had a fluid build up in his abdomen that was impairing the function of his small intestines. 

The defense secretary was released from the hospital after 15 days of recovery.

Austin was re-admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on February 11, reporting discomfort from a bladder issue related to his December 2023 prostate cancer surgery. He was released on February 13.

He later apologized to President Biden and the American people for keeping his diagnosis a secret.

He said his diagnosis with prostate cancer as a ‘gut punch’ and said it ‘shook’ him personally.

‘I was being treated for prostate cancer. The news shook me and I know it shakes so many others, especially in the black community. It was a gut punch,’ he said.

‘Frankly, my first instinct was to keep it private. I don’t think it’s news that I’m a pretty private guy. I never like the burdening others with my problems. It is just not my way. But I’ve learned from this experience taking this kind of job means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect. The American people have a right to know if their leaders are facing health challenges that might affect their ability to perform their duties even temporarily,’ he said. 

He said he did not direct any staff to keep his condition a secret.

‘We fell short on this one,’ he noted. 

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This post first appeared on Daily mail

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