Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Widening Petraeus Scandal Comes at Already Troublesome Time for Pentagon

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Widening Petraeus Scandal Comes at Already Troublesome Time for Pentagon

Article excerpt

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.

At 1:30 am Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panettas 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 risqu or classified. Allen, according to Pentagon officials, disputes that he has engaged in any wrongdoing.

That said, Panetta asked President Obama to put on hold Allens nomination to become Supreme Allied commander, Europe, pending the investigation of the Pentagons Office of Inspector General.

As to questions about whether Petraeuss affair did indeed begin after he left his post in Afghanistan, as his former closest advisers insist, Panetta told reporters, Im reading the papers just like you are.

Allens confirmation hearing had been scheduled to take place before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday morning.

Panetta has already named Gen. Joseph Dunford, currently the No. …

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