SecDef Lloyd Austin Update: Inspector General to Investigate Mishandling of Absence; First Democrat Calls for Resignation

Defense Department Inspector General Robert Storch announced on Wednesday he is opening an investigation into the mishandling of the secret absence of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, 70, while he was operated on for prostate cancer in December and then hospitalized with complications in January.

WASHINGTON (Jan. 23, 2021) Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III poses for his official portrait in the Army portrait studio at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Jan 23, 2020.(U.S. Army photo by Spc. XaViera Masline)

Austin’s chief of staff Kelly Magsamen had previously ordered an in-house investigation of the mishandling of Austin’s absence. Magsamen has been blamed in press reports for failing to notify the White House, Congress and senior DoD staff of Austin’s illness and absence because she was ill with the flu.

The White House has also initiated a review after it was revealed Austin did not notify Biden or anyone at the White House that he was diagnosed with cancer last month and underwent general anesthesia for surgery to remove his prostate, and that the Pentagon waited three days to inform the White House Austin was later taken by ambulance and placed in the Intensive Care Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on January 1.

The White House has made clear Biden has no intention of firing Austin, who reportedly is still at Walter Reed.

On Thursday, the DoD Office of Legislative Affairs sent out an email promoting a Washington Post column by Max Boot headlined, “Lloyd Austin doesn’t deserve to be the piñata of the day in Washington.”

This morning, the DoD office of legislative affairs is blasting out a Max Boot column to Capitol Hill offices.

The headline: “Lloyd Austin doesn’t deserve to be the piñata of the day in Washington.”

Screenshot: pic.twitter.com/tBOenjxfav

— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) January 11, 2024

Austin erred in not promptly notifying the White House and the public of his ongoing treatment for prostate cancer. But his very human failing hardly warrants the degree of caterwauling we are now hearing amid calls for his removal. He is a good SecDef. https://t.co/pYzwqGUxi3

— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) January 10, 2024

The announcement of the IG investigation came the same day the first Democrat called for Austin’s resignation: Iraq war veteran Rep. Chris Deluzio (PA), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee (several Republicans in the House and Senate, as well as President Trump, have called for Austin to resign or be fired.):

Deluzio Calls for Defense Secretary Austin to Resign
January 10, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Armed Services Committee member and Iraq War veteran Congressman Chris Deluzio (D-PA-17) released the following statement:

“I have lost trust in Secretary Lloyd Austin’s leadership of the Defense Department due to the lack of transparency about his recent medical treatment and its impact on the continuity of the chain of command. I have a solemn duty in Congress to conduct oversight of the Defense Department through my service on the House Armed Services Committee. That duty today requires me to call on Secretary Austin to resign.

“I thank Secretary Austin for his leadership and years of dedicated service to the American people and wish him a speedy recovery.”

Text of IG Storch’s memo on the investigation:

January 10, 2024
MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
SUBJECT: Review of the Responsibilities and Actions Related to the Secretary of Defense’s Hospitalization in December 2023 – January 2024 and the DoD’s Policies and Procedures for Notification and Transition of Authorities Due to Unavailability of Senior Leadership

The purpose of this memorandum is to notify you that we plan to begin the subject review in January 2024. The objective of the review is to examine the roles, processes, procedures, responsibilities, and actions related to the Secretary of Defense’s hospitalization in December 2023 – January 2024, and assess whether the DoD’s policies and procedures are sufficient to ensure timely and appropriate notifications and the effective transition of authorities as may be warranted due to health-based or other unavailability of senior leadership.

The DoD OIG may revise or expand the objective and scope as the review proceeds. We plan to perform this review in accordance with Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, “Quality Standards for Federal Offices of Inspector General.” We will perform the review at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. We may identify additional offices and personnel who might have information relevant to our review.

We request that you designate a staff member to serve as our point of contact for this review within 5 days of this memorandum. The point of contact should be a Government employee—a GS-15, or pay band equivalent, or the military equivalent—and knowledgeable of the matters
related to the objective. Send the contact’s name, title, grade/pay band, phone number, and e-mail address to (redacted).

The Inspector General Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. §§ 401-424, as amended, authorizes us to have access to personnel and materials as we determine necessary to perform our independent oversight in a timely manner. Information about the DoD Office of Inspector General is contained in DoD Directive 5106.01, “Inspector General of the Department of Defense (IG DoD),” April 20, 2012, as amended, and DoD Instruction 7050.03, “Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense Access to Records and Information,” March 22, 2013. More information about our office is available on our website, https://www.dodig.mil. If you have any questions about this review, please contact (redacted).

Robert P. Storch

cc: General Counsel of the Department Of Defense

The post SecDef Lloyd Austin Update: Inspector General to Investigate Mishandling of Absence; First Democrat Calls for Resignation appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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