SCANDAL WIDENS: Top commander under investigation

SCANDAL WIDENS: Top commander under investigation

Cebu : Philippines | Nov 13, 2012 at 1:08 AM PST
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Skooter reports 11/13/12

In a new development to the Gen. David Petraeus sex scandal, the Pentagon said Tuesday that Gen. John Allen, the top American commander in Afghanistan, is under investigation for so-called unacceptable communications with a woman who is reportedly to have received intimidating emails from Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom Petraeus had an extramarital issue.

In a written statement released to reporters aboard Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s plane, on the way from Honolulu to Perth, Australia, said that the FBI passed on the matter to the Pentagon on Sunday. Panetta ordered a Pentagon investigation of Gen. Allen.

Allen’s communication, a senior defense official said were with Jill Kelley, who has been depicted as an unpaid social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., headquarters to the U.S. Central Command. As reported, Kelley is not a U.S. government employee.

Kelley is reportedly to have received menacing emails from Petraeus' biographer, Broadwell and is also Petraeus’ other woman that reportedly began after the retired former 4-star general became CIA director in September 2011. On Friday, Petraeus resigned as CIA director.

In July 2011, Allen, a four-star Marine general, took over Petraeus’ position as the top American commander in Afghanistan.

Panetta believed it was practical to instigate a Pentagon investigation, though the official would not explain the character of Allen’s problematic communications, the senior official said, who discussed the matter only on condition of anonymity because it is under investigation.

The anonymous official further said 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails and other docs from Allen's communications with Kelley between 2010 and 2012 are under evaluation. He declined to say whether they involved sexual matters or whether they are thought to include unofficial exposé of classified information. The official also said he had no idea whether Petraeus is mentioned in the emails.

Gen. Allen argues that he has engaged in any unlawful activity in this matter, the official said. Allen currently is in Washington, he added.

While the matter is being investigated by the Defense Department Inspector General, Panetta said, Allen will remain in his post as commander of the International Security Assistance Force, based in Kabul. He lauded Allen as having been influential in making progress in the war.

The FBI's choice to refer the Allen matter to the Pentagon rather than keep it itself, compounded with Panetta's decision to allow Allen to continue as Afghanistan commander without a suspension, it means that officials saw it whatever happened as a possible breach of military rules rather than a violation of federal criminal law.

Allen was Deputy Commander of Central Command, based in Tampa, and a veteran of Iraq war, before taking over in Afghanistan.

In a separate development, Allen is nominated to be the next commander of U.S. European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe but Panetta and President Obama after being consulted agreed that the nomination should be set aside until the relevant issues are resolved. Gen. Allen is said to take that new post in early 2013, depending on the Senate confirmation as had been widely expected.

It was reported that Allen was to testify at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. But Panetta asked committee leaders to reset that hearing.

It was also learned that Panetta wants the Senate Armed Services Committee to act on time on Obama's nomination of Gen. Joseph Dunford to replace Allen as commander in Afghanistan. That nomination was made several weeks ago. Dunford's hearing is also scheduled for Thursday.


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Retired four-star general David Petraeus
skooter is based in Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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