General John Allen, whose name was caught up and later cleared in a scandal, is said to be withdrawing from the consideration of being the top NATO commander, according to US military officials.
Giving an interview to NBC News Wednesday, three officials in Allen’s staff said that he does not want to drag his family into another painful confirmation process in which the scandal over exchange of emails with a Florida socialite is sure to pop up once again.
Though the Pentagon investigation has cleared Gen, Allen’s name, he believes taking some time off would be a better idea.
In a written statement, a member of his staff said, "After 19 months in command in Afghanistan, and many before that spent away from home, Gen. Allen has been offered time to rest and reunite with his family before he turns his attention to his next assignment."
After speaking with Allen in the last two days, outgoing Defense Secretarysaid: "My recommendation to him was 'take your time.' Your country will always find a way to make use of your great services, but you have to make up your own mind."
Allen has voiced his concern with several top members in the military, but is yet to discuss it with President Barack Obama. However, an official told NBC that Obama is aware of Allen’s concerns and will arrange a meeting with him some time soon.
Gen. Allen was caught up in the same scandal that brought down former CIA director,, who later on confessed his extramarital affair with a woman. While investigating Petraeus’s case, the Pentagon got its hands on several emails which Gen. Allen had exchanged with Tampa socialite, , but since they did not violate any laws, he was cleared.
While the defense officials involved in the investigation did not find any evidence of an affair between Kelly and Allen, they told NBC news in an interview last winter, that the emails contained ‘enough inappropriate’ language to have warranted an investigation.
Last weekend, Gen. Allen took part in a handover ceremony to pass over his command as the chief of the Afghan mission to Gen. Joseph Dunford.
It remains possible that Obama asks Allen to reconsider the matter and go ahead with the nomination, but the final decision still depends on the general.