Austin aide asked for ambulance to be ‘a little subtle’ in 911 call

An aide for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asked for an ambulance to come to his house without lights or sirens on the day his controversial hospitalization began.

“Can I ask—can the ambulance not show up with lights and sirens? Uhm, we’re trying to remain a little subtle,” the aide said, according to an audio recording of a 911 call obtained by The Hill.

In their response, a dispatcher said that “usually when they turn into a residential neighborhood, they’ll turn them off.”

Names were redacted in the recording of the call obtained by The Hill, but The Daily Beast, which first obtained the recording, reported the person on the call was an aide to Austin.

Austin was released from the hospital Monday, following waves of controversy for trips to the hospital kept secret from the White House.

The Defense secretary was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on the first day of the month because of complications “including nausea with severe abdominal, hip, and leg pain” from an earlier hospital procedure to fight prostate cancer in December that he kept secret from the White House. He also kept the later hospital visit secret for days.

President Biden on Friday said that Austin had shown a lapse in judgment for not letting him know about his hospitalization. However, he also said he still has confidence in his Defense secretary.

Republican members of the Senate Armed Service Committee sent a letter to Austin last Wednesday demanding that the Pentagon give a detailed timeline of events concerning the Defense secretary’s “incapacitation” and hospitalization.

“We are deeply troubled by the apparent breakdown in communications between your office and the rest of the Department of Defense, the White House, and Congress over the past two weeks,” they wrote.

This story was updated at 5:24 p.m.

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