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Business News/ News / US Defense Chief Austin Had No ‘Ill Intent’ in Hospital Confusion, Pentagon Finds
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US Defense Chief Austin Had No ‘Ill Intent’ in Hospital Confusion, Pentagon Finds

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his team never acted with bad intentions when he failed to immediately disclose his hospitalization over complications from prostate-cancer surgery, according to a Pentagon review of the episode.

US Defense Chief Austin Had No ‘Ill Intent’ in Hospital Confusion, Pentagon FindsPremium
US Defense Chief Austin Had No ‘Ill Intent’ in Hospital Confusion, Pentagon Finds

(Bloomberg) -- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his team never acted with bad intentions when he failed to immediately disclose his hospitalization over complications from prostate-cancer surgery, according to a Pentagon review of the episode.

Investigators concluded that “nothing examined during this review demonstrated any indication of ill intent or an attempt to obfuscate," according to an unclassified summary released Monday of the review, which examined the events surrounding Austin’s prostate cancer surgery and subsequent hospitalization.

The episode provoked an uproar and even spurred calls for Austin’s resignation after it became clear that he had failed to notify President Joe Biden, Congress or the public for several days after he was hospitalized on New Year’s day. Austin later apologized for his handling of the situation, saying he should have told Biden about his cancer diagnosis. He said he had not wanted to burden the president with his personal problems.

Austin transferred his authority to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Jan. 2 and she was “at all times positioned to perform all the functions and duties of the Secretary," the review found.

The review said medical privacy laws, Austin’s changing medical situation and reluctance by the Pentagon chief’s team to pry into his personal affairs were sources of confusion. It said the process for making decision about transferring the secretary’s authority “could and should be improved."

Read More: Austin Apologizes for Not Telling Biden and Public About Cancer

The conclusions were detailed in a three-page unclassified summary of a 30-day review into the events surrounding Austin’s prostate cancer surgery and subsequent complications. The unclassified summary said the review made eight recommendations and that Austin had directed that all of them be carried out. It didn’t’ say what the recommendations were.

Austin is set to testify about the episode before the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 29. The committee chairman, Representative Mike Rogers, had said in early January that he was “quickly losing faith" in Austin’s ability to lead the Pentagon and wanted answers about what he called “this lack of transparency."

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 27 Feb 2024, 01:52 AM IST
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