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US defense chief pledges transparency after hospitalization

File photo : US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin taken in October 2023.

Washington, United States – US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday accepted responsibility for failing to disclose a recent hospitalization, following reports that even top White House officials and President Joe Biden were in the dark that he was ill and unable to carry out his duties.

The Pentagon waited until Friday evening to announce that Austin, 70, had been hospitalized four days prior “for complications following a recent elective medical procedure” — a breach of standard protocol at a time when the United States is embroiled in the Middle East crisis.

NBC News reported Austin was in the intensive care unit for four days, and remained at the hospital on Saturday.

“I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better,”…

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