Widening Petraeus scandal comes at already troublesome time for Pentagon
Gen. John Allen, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, is under investigation by the Department of Defense, as part of the inquiry into David Petraeus's affair. The Pentagon already had big personnel moves planned, and budget questions loom.
News of the latest figure in the widening soap opera that is a Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry – now involving Gen. John Allen, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan – comes at a particularly troublesome time for the Pentagon.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures The Petraeus affair: the players
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At 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s office released a statement via BlackBerry confirming that Allen, who took the top job in Kabul after David Petraeus moved to the Central Intelligence Agency in September 2011, is now under investigation by the Department of Defense. This scrutiny is the result of an FBI referral.
For now, Allen will remain commander in Afghanistan.
“His leadership has been instrumental in achieving the significant progress that [the International Security Assistance Force], working alongside our Afghan partners, has made in bringing greater security to the Afghan people and in ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists,” Secretary Panetta said in his statement. “He is entitled to due process in this matter.”
What precisely “this matter” is remains the topic of much speculation within the halls of the Pentagon. What is known is that the FBI found between 20,000 and 30,000 “potentially inappropriate” e-mails between Allen and Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Fla., socialite who was the recipient of harassing e-mails from Paula Broadwell, the biographer and paramour of Mr. Petraeus.
Officials point out that “inappropriate” e-mails does not necessarily mean risqué or classified. Allen, according to Pentagon officials, “disputes that he has engaged in any wrongdoing.”