Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been formally called to testify before Congress about his hospitalization for complications from prostate cancer surgery that he initially kept secret.
In a letter Thursday to Austin, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., said his panel would hold a hearing on the matter Feb. 14 and that he expects Austin to appear at the hearing after what he described as the defense secretary's “unwillingness to provide candid and complete answers” in private.
“Specifically, I am alarmed you refused to answer whether you instructed your staff to not inform the president of the United States or anyone else of your hospitalization,” Rogers wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, this leads me to believe that information is being withheld from Congress. Congress must understand what happened and who made decisions to prevent the disclosure of the whereabouts of a cabinet secretary.”
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Asked whether Austin would agree to testify, as well as for a response to Rogers' charge that the secretary has withheld information from him, the Pentagon did not directly answer.
“On Wednesday, the department provided the committee three letters in a good-faith effort to respond to the committee as expeditiously as possible, recognizing that there is an internal 30-day review underway, and the DoD inspector general…