Biden admin 'embarrassed' by Defense Sec Lloyd Austin's secret hospitalization: report

A Department of Defense official said, “Someone’s head has to roll."

The Biden administration has become "embarrassed" by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's hospitalization which was kept undisclosed for several days before it broke out into the public media sphere.  

Sec. Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after complications with an undisclosed surgery and President Joe Biden did not know for days that the secretary had gone AWOL. 10 current and former US officials told Politico that the whole situation has become an "embarrassment" for the administration.  

The administration has indicated that the president still has "complete confidence" in Austin to fulfill his responsibilities.  

A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, aboard Air Force One, "Should the American people have confidence in Austin given his lack of transparency and then also, do the American people need to be concerned about a lack of transparency for the President given this lapse." 

Jean-Pierre replied telling the reporters to refer to Austin's own statement where he took responsibility and said, "The President ... continues to have confidence in Secretary Austin and as the admiral just stated ... we want to see him back at the Pentagon." 

The statement from Austin read: "[I] understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better. But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure." 

The procedure that Austin underwent has still not publicly been disclosed. Another reporter asked Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House John Kirby whether or not even Biden knows what surgery Austin had to undergo at the hospital.  

Kirby said, "I know that the president had an opportunity to talk to Secretary Austin a few days ago... I don't know the level of the president's personal knowledge of his medical situation." 

He then told the reporter that there are "no plans" to remove Austin or to adjust his leadership role in the military.  

Although the administration has not talked about the removal of Austin, there have been sources saying that pressure has built from the situation. One Department of Defense told Politico that "[s]omeone’s head has to roll" and a former DOD senior official said, "Someone made the decision not to disclose. That person will likely be gone shortly.” 
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