WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is subpoenaed to testify to Congress for not immediately informing the White House of his recent hospitalization.
Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Austin on Thursday asking him to attend a Feb. 14 hearing on how the Defense Department is waiting. three days Telling White House officials that the head of the Pentagon is in the intensive care unit. Rep. Rogers, R-Ala., launched a formal investigation into the matter this month.
“Maintaining the most ready and lethal force possible requires everyone in the national security community to rely on the presence and transparency of the Secretary of Defense,” Rogers said in a four-page letter to Austin. “Unfortunately, you have not demonstrated these attributes in this latest series of events.”
Rogers said he wanted Austin to provide details about his contacts with White House and Defense Department officials, the interim transfer of authority to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks, and Austin’s official actions while hospitalized.
“I expect your full honesty and cooperation in this matter,” Rogers said. “Anything short of that is completely unacceptable.”
A Defense Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.
The 70-year-old defense secretary has faced intense scrutiny for delaying reporting the hospitalization to the White House.
Austin said he “takes full responsibility for my disclosure decisions.”
“I also understand the media’s concerns about transparency, and I understand that I could have done a better job of ensuring that the public was properly informed,” Austin said in a Jan. 6 statement. “I promise to do better.”