The sex scandal that led to CIA Director David Petraeus’ resignation widened on Tuesday with word that the top US commander in Afghanistan is under investigation for thousands of alleged “inappropriate communications” with another woman involved in the case.
Even as the FBI prepared a timeline for Congress about the investigation that brought to light Petraeus’ extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta revealed that the Pentagon had begun an internal investigation into e-mails from General John Allen to Jill Kelley, the Florida woman involved in the case.
Allen succeeded Petraeus as the top American commander in Afghanistan in July 2011, and his nomination to become the next commander of US European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe has now been put on hold, as the scandal seemed certain to ensnare another acclaimed military figure. In a White House statement, National Security spokesman Tommy Vietor said US President Barack Obama has held Allen’s nomination at Panetta’s request. Obama, the statement said, “remains focused on fully supporting our extraordinary troops and coalition partners in Afghanistan, who Gen Allen continues to lead as he has so ably done for over a year.”
In the latest revelations, an official said 20,000 to 30,000 pages of e-mails from Allen’s communications with Kelley between 2010 and 2012 are under review.
He would not say whether they involved sexual matters or whether they are thought to include unauthorised disclosures of classified information. Allen has denied wrongdoing. If Allen was found to have had an affair with Kelley, he could face charges.