Claudia Tenney, a member of the House of Representatives, led a group of 12 representatives in a letter to Defense Secretary Austin asking, among other details, who was part of the decision to delay disclosure. "How would you have reacted if one of your combatant commanders had been unable to perform their duties for three or four days and you had not been informed?" Tenney asked Austin. 

"We are gravely concerned about the Department of Defense's (DOD) lack of transparency regarding your recent hospitalization, which included four days in the intensive care unit," the letter obtained by Fox News said. 

The letter continued:

"According to reports, congressional leadership, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the President, the National Security Advisor, and other members of the National Security Council were not informed of your hospitalization until three days after your hospitalization. Given your critical role as Secretary of Defense in protecting our nation, it is extremely concerning that you concealed your extended hospitalization from the President and other senior national security officials."

What happened?

On January 5, the Pentagon publicly announced that Austin had been in the hospital since January 1 due to complications from an elective surgery. However, a report in Politico later revealed that not only the media, but also top White House officials and senior Pentagon officials were not aware of Austin's hospitalization until January 4. 

This lack of disclosure caused bipartisan concern, with senior Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees calling for greater transparency.