Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is requested to testify before CONGRESS about why he kept


  • Lloyd Austin, 70, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December 2023
  • The defense secretary had surgery on December 22 and discharged the next day
  • On January 1 he had ‘severe abdominal, leg, and hip pain’ and was hospitalized
  • Biden was not told until January 4 and Austin will be before congress to testify

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been asked to testify before the House Armed Services Committee about his undisclosed hospitalization.

The 70-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December and on December 22 underwent surgery, and was diagnosed the next day.

But on January 1 he began experiencing ‘severe abdominal, leg, and hip pain’ and was admitted to Walter Reed hospital. The White House was not informed of his hospitalization until January 4, and did not learn of the cancer diagnosis until January 9 – leading to calls for Austin’s resignation.

On Thursday Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican and chair of the Armed Services Committee, wrote to Austin to ask him to appear before the committee on February 14 and explain himself.

Lloyd Austin is pictured on December 20 - his last public sighting - talking to the commanding officer of the USS Gerald R. Ford, Navy Capt. Rick Burgess, during an unannounced visit to the ship off the coast of Israel

Lloyd Austin is pictured on December 20 – his last public sighting – talking to the commanding officer of the USS Gerald R. Ford, Navy Capt. Rick Burgess, during an unannounced visit to the ship off the coast of Israel

Austin on December 20 addresses crew members on USS Gerald R. Ford. Two days later he went in to hospital for planned prostate cancer surgery - but was discharged, then readmitted a week later

Austin on December 20 addresses crew members on USS Gerald R. Ford. Two days later he went in to hospital for planned prostate cancer surgery – but was discharged, then readmitted a week later

Austin, 70, is pictured testifying in March during a budget hearing

Austin, 70, is pictured testifying in March during a budget hearing

Congress must understand what happened and who made decisions to prevent the disclosure of the whereabouts of a cabinet secretary,’ wrote Rogers.

Austin spent the first two weeks of 2024 in hospital, and was discharged on Monday to his Virginia home.

President Joe Biden has said Austin has his full support, but Republicans have accused him of being AWOL.

‘Maintaining the most ready and lethal force possible requires that everyone in the national security community be able to rely upon the Secretary of Defense’s availability and transparency,’ said Rogers in his four-page letter to Austin. 

‘Regrettably, you have not exhibited these attributes throughout this most recent string of events.’ 

Austin has faced calls for his resignation after he failed to inform the White House about his cancer diagnosis, surgery and readmission to hospital

Austin has faced calls for his resignation after he failed to inform the White House about his cancer diagnosis, surgery and readmission to hospital

Rogers, who has opened an inquiry into Austin’s behavior, said he wants Austin to provide details about his communications with the White House and Defense Department officials; the temporary transfer of power to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks; and Austin’s official actions during his hospitalization.

Hicks took control of some of Austin’s powers on January 2, but the White House was not informed.

The same day Hicks assumed power, the Pentagon press secretary, Austin’s chief of staff and Austin’s senior military adviser learned that Austin was in the hospital. 

‘I expect your full honesty and cooperation in this matter,’ Rogers said. 

‘Anything short of that is completely unacceptable.’

The public was not informed of Austin’s hospitalization until January 5.

Austin and the Pentagon are yet to respond to Rogers’ request. 



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