November 14, 2012

Petraeus scandal widens to include another top general

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that he ordered a Pentagon investigation of Gen. John Allen on Monday.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The sex scandal that felled CIA Director David Petraeus widened Tuesday to ensnare the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, in a suddenly public drama involving a Tampa socialite, a jealous rival, a twin sister in a messy custody dispute and flirty emails.

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In this July 9, 2011 file photo, USMC Gen. John Allen, left, and Army Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and incoming CIA Director, greet former CIA Director and new U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, right, as he lands in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Richards, Pool)

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Jill Kelley leaves her home Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. Kelley is identified as the woman who allegedly received harassing emails from Gen. David Petraeus' paramour, Paula Broadwell. She serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

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A look at what went wrong for the four U.S. generals who have led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan since 2008:

Gen. David McKiernan, June 2008 to June 2009

Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked for McKiernan's resignation a year before his term as commander was set to end. The firing was seen as a rejection by newly elected President Barack Obama of McKiernan's conventional warfare approach in favor of the more targeted "counterinsurgency" strategy of working to undermine insurgents' pull on the population.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, June 2009 to June 2010

McChrystal, who had a background in special operations, came in with a mandate to remake the war effort with the help of "surge" troops ordered by Obama. A year into that push, an article in Rolling Stone magazine quoted members of McChrystal's team making disparaging comments about their commander in chief and other senior administration officials. Obama called McChrystal back to Washington to explain and forced him to resign.

Gen. David Petraeus, July 2010 to July 2011

Petraeus took over the Afghan command to fill the void left by McChrystal's abrupt departure and agreed to serve for one year. He completed that term and then retired from the military to become CIA director in September 2011. Petraeus resigned as CIA director on Nov. 9 after he had an extramarital affair with his biographer. The affair came out as part of an FBI investigation into suspicious emails between the biographer and another woman.

Gen. John Allen, July 2011 to present

Allen was appointed by Obama to oversee the drawdown of U.S. and international forces ahead of the planned transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan government in 2014. Pentagon officials said early Tuesday that Allen is under investigation for thousands of alleged "inappropriate communications" with the second woman involved in the Petraeus case, a Florida socialite. Allen's nomination to become the next commander of U.S. European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe has now been put on hold.

The improbable story — by turns tragic and silly — could have major consequences, unfolding at a critical time in the Afghan war effort and just as President Barack Obama was hoping for a smooth transition in his national security team.

Obama put a hold on the nomination of Afghan war chief Allen to become the next commander of U.S. European Command as well as the NATO supreme allied commander in Europe after investigators uncovered 20,000-plus pages of documents and emails that involved Allen and Tampa socialite Jill Kelley. Some of the material was characterized as "flirtatious."

Allen, 58, insisted he'd done nothing wrong and worked to save his imperiled career.

Kelley, 37, who had worked herself into the center of the military social scene in Florida without having any official role, emerged as a central figure in the still-unfolding story that has embroiled two of the nation's most influential and respected military leaders.

Known as a close friend of retired Gen. Petraeus, Kelley triggered the FBI investigation that led to his downfall as CIA director when she complained about getting anonymous, harassing emails. They turned out to have been written by Petraeus' mistress, Paula Broadwell, who apparently was jealous of the attention the general paid to Kelley. Petraeus acknowledged the affair and resigned Friday.

In the course of looking into that situation, federal investigators came across what a Pentagon official called "inappropriate communications" between Allen and Kelley, both of them married.

According to one senior U.S. official, the emails between Allen and Kelley were not sexually explicit or seductive but included pet names such as "sweetheart" or "dear." The official said that while much of the communication — including some from Allen to Kelley — is relatively innocuous, some could be construed as unprofessional and would cause a reasonable person to take notice.

That official, as well as others who described the investigation, requested anonymity on grounds that they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

The FBI decided to turn over the Allen information to the military once the bureau recognized it contained no evidence of a federal crime, according to a federal law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record and demanded anonymity. Adultery, however, is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

A senior defense official said that the FBI first notified the Pentagon of the Allen matter at 4:15 p.m. EST on Sunday. The Pentagon's top lawyer, Jeh Johnson, then called Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's chief of staff, Jeremy Bash, about 5 p.m. as Bash and Panetta were flying to Honolulu aboard a military jet to begin a weeklong Asia trip. Bash then informed Panetta.

Allen was not suspended from his military position, even though his nomination for promotion is on hold. The White House will soon be deciding how many troops will remain in Afghanistan — and for what purposes — after the U.S.-led combat operation ends in 2014. Allen has provided his recommendations to the White House and is key to those discussions.

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Additional Photos

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FILE POOL - In this July 9, 2011 file photo, USMC Gen. John Allen, left, and Army Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and incoming CIA Director, greet former CIA Director and new U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, right, as he lands in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Richards, Pool)

AP

  


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