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The White House is not aware of the Defense Secretary's illness

On New Year's Day, Austin was admitted to Walter Reed Army Hospital outside Washington due to complications from minor surgery. For several days, he received intensive care, but only on Friday did the hospital become known to the public. Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said at the time that the minister's condition was moving in the right direction.

But it was not only the American people who remained in the dark about Austin's health. Sources within the Biden administration tell both The New York Times And CBS It took several days before the White House was informed.

Confidentiality The issue of his hospitalization sparked strong reactions from those in the American journalism profession and within the country's government, not least because of the ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

Austin is responsible for 1.4 million soldiers serving in the country and the only person above him in decision-making order is President Joe Biden. According to the Pentagon, Assistant Secretary Austin Kathleen Hicks was prepared to replace him. During the week, she must have made some routine decisions.

The Defense Secretary returned to his post on Friday, according to spokesman Pat Ryder. But according to information from the New York Times, he was still in the hospital on Saturday.

Austin says in unison statement He is looking forward to returning to the Defense Headquarters soon. There he also admits that he could have been more transparent about his condition and takes responsibility for confidentiality.

“I realize I could have done a better job of keeping the public informed,” he writes, and promises improvement in the future.

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