Sunday, January 07, 2024

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's Hospitalization Saga Just Got Worse

By Matt Vespa |

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Joe Biden promised a new era of government transparency when he was sworn in as president. It’s been anything but that, and the hospital saga surrounding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin shows how this promise is long dead. There are numerous other examples of this administration playing catch-up with the press and dropping the ball on other fronts. When the Chinese spy balloon penetrated US air space last year, the initial course of action from the Biden White House was to hide it from the public. You can’t do that because numerous witnesses saw the surveillance device from a passenger plane.

Austin may not be a top-dog defense secretary, but given Biden’s age and health, the line of succession matters, as does the man who is supposedly one of the president’s top military and national security advisers. A high-ranking member of the cabinet having a medical issue is a story, and burying it is even worse. Why? We learned this weekend that Lloyd was admitted into intensive care after an elective medical procedure (via Politico): 

The Pentagon did not tell President Joe Biden and other top officials about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization for three days, three U.S. officials said. 

National security adviser Jake Sullivan and other senior White House aides didn’t know of Austin’s Jan. 1 hospitalization until the Defense Department sent over word Jan. 4, two other U.S. officials said. Sullivan informed Biden shortly after DOD’s Thursday notification. 

The officials said it was highly unlikely that Austin conveyed word to Biden privately before Sullivan’s briefing. “If Jake didn’t know, no way the president knew,” one of them said. “Who would have told him of Austin’s condition if not Jake? And if someone did tell the president, Jake would’ve been his first call.” 

All officials and other people who spoke for this story were granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue.

 Is anyone else in the presidential line of succession in the hospital? If there were, we would never know. Who is talking to whom in this administration, and why is it that the easy, most simple things are disregarded or outright ignored? Austin is reportedly performing his duties at Walter Reed National Medical Center. He was hospitalized after there were complications from an “elective medical procedure.”