Nov 13, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from Fox News: The Pentagon says the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, is is under investigation for alleged “inappropriate” e-mail communications, and a senior defense official says there is a “distinct possibility” the matter is connected with the FBI investigation that led to the resignation of former CIA director David Petraeus.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a written statement issued to reporters aboard his aircraft early Tuesday that the FBI referred the matter to the Pentagon on Sunday, and that he ordered a Pentagon investigation of Allen on Monday.
The defense official confirmed the investigation was due to allegations of inappropriate emails between Allen and Jill Kelley, a close friend of the Petraeus family who reportedly led the FBI to investigate communications between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell.
The FBI then discovered Petraeus and Broadwell had engaged in an extramarital affair, which led Petraeus to resign as director of the CIA on Nov. 9.
The defense official says the investigation into Allen involves 20,000 to 30,000 emails that were dated between 2010 and 2012, and that the department is in the very early stages of their investigation
.He would not say whether they involved sexual matters or whether they are thought to include unauthorized disclosures of classified information or any criminal activity. He said he did not know whether Petraeus is mentioned in the emails.
“Gen. Allen disputes that he has engaged in any wrongdoing in this matter,” the official said. He said Allen currently is in Washington.
Panetta said that while the matter is being investigated by the Defense Department Inspector General, Allen will remain in his post as commander of the International Security Assistance Force, based in Kabul.
However, he said Allen’s nomination to be the next commander of U.S. European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe has been put on hold “until the relevant facts are determined.”
Allen was scheduled to have a nomination hearing for that position Thursday and had been expected to take that new post in early 2013, if confirmed by the Senate, as had been widely expected.
Panetta also said he wants the Senate Armed Services Committee to act promptly on Obama’s nomination of Gen. Joseph Dunford to succeed Allen as commander in Afghanistan. That nomination was made several weeks ago. Dunford’s hearing is also scheduled for Thursday.