Pentagon says Austin was in the hospital when he ordered strikes on Houthis

WASHINGTON — From his hospital room, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin first orchestrated and then watched in real time as the US retaliatory attack on Yemen-based Houthi militants unfolded Thursday night.

It was the latest in a series of responsibilities Austin has carried out from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he has been recovering from complications due to treatments for prostate cancer that he initially did not disclose.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden said it was a lapse in judgment for Austin to keep his hospitalization a secret, but said he still has confidence in the Pentagon chief.

Austin’s delays in disclosing his prostate cancer and his hospitalization have roiled the administration, Pentagon and Congress. Pentagon officials have repeatedly said that Austin has been performing his duties for the last week, even as he remains hospitalized.

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