The Defense Department inspector general will investigate the events surrounding the hospitalization of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the subsequent lack of notification of Congress and the White House, the office announced Thursday.
The watchdog probe will “examine the roles, processes, procedures, responsibilities and actions related to the Secretary of Defense's hospitalization in December 2023 and January 2024,” Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the top Pentagon spokesman, told reporters at a public briefing.
It will be the second investigation by the Pentagon into what officials said were a series of issues and missteps — including Austin's chief of staff coming down with the flu and department officials not feeling empowered to share the information — that led to many key officials in Washington, D.C., not learning of the hospitalization until Jan. 5.
On Monday, Austin's office began its own 30-day review of the lack of official and public notification. But that review was ordered by Kelly Magsamen, Austin's chief of staff and one of the key people who is implicated in the chain of events that led to the White House, Congress and the National Security Council being left in the dark.
Earlier that day, reporters asked Ryder whether that internal investigation was “kind of checking your own homework?”