The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has launched an investigation into the secrecy surrounding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's hospitalization for complications that arose from a surgery for prostate cancer, a diagnosis that was also secret until this week.
Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., sent letters Tuesday to Austin, his chief of staff and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks demanding a stack of documents and answers about why Congress, the White House and most of the Defense Department weren't informed sooner.
The inquiry signals that fallout from the episode is mounting even as the Pentagon tries to contain the turmoil that has roiled Washington since the department first revealed Austin's hospitalization around 5 p.m. on Friday. In addition to Rogers' investigation, more Republicans have demanded Austin's resignation; calls for public hearings from both sides of the aisle have grown; and one Republican launched a long-shot effort to impeach Austin.
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“With wars in Ukraine and Israel, the idea that the White House and even your own deputy did not understand the nature of your condition is patently unacceptable,” Rogers wrote in his letter to Austin. “The department is a robust institution, and it is designed to function under attack by our enemies, but it is not designed for a secretary who conceals being…