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Hospitalized Secretary Austin authorized strike on Yemeni Houthis: Report

"He was involved in all the discussions and meetings yesterday and was completely engaged in the planning," one official said.

Published: January 12, 2024 4:27pm

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, despite his hospitalization, was directly involved in the planning of the recent U.S. strike on the Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen, Politico reported, citing "two senior administration officials."

Austin has been hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center for most of this year due to complications from a previous prostatectomy. Despite his hospitalization, Austin reportedly remained active in the strategic planning and monitored the operation from his hospital bed.

"He was involved in all the discussions and meetings yesterday and was completely engaged in the planning," one official told the outlet. 

American and British forces on Thursday struck the militant group, based in northern Yemen, in retaliation for the group's harassment of shipping in the Red Sea. U.S. Navy warships have, for months, been forced to intercept the litany of missile launchings originating from their territory.

Austin has attracted flak across the political spectrum for not notifying the public of his hospitalization for days and reportedly leaving the White House in the dark on the issue.

"I have lost trust in Secretary Lloyd Austin's leadership of the Defense Department due to the lack of transparency about his recent medical treatment and its impact on the continuity of the chain of command," Democratic Rep. Chris Deluzio said Wednesday. "I have a solemn duty in Congress to conduct oversight of the Defense Department through my service on the House Armed Services Committee. That duty today requires me to call on Secretary Austin to resign."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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