Gen. Allen (left) with Gen. Petraeus (right)
General John Allen is being investigated for a possible inappropriate relationship with a woman linked to the Petraeus scandal, Jill Kelley, according to an announcement by the Pentagon.
The FBI probe that was investigating CIA director David Petraeus’ relationship with his biographer Paula Broadwell has been expanded to Allen.
From Craig Whitlock at the Washington Post:
According to a senior U.S. defense official, the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of “potentially inappropriate” emails between Allen and Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old Tampa woman whose close friendship with Petraeus ultimately led to his downfall.
The “voluminous collection of emails” between the pair occurred between 2010 and this year.
Allen denies any wrongdoing, according to Jennifer Hlad at Stars and Stripes.
Like Petraeus, Allen is a four-star general with a storied career in the armed forces. A deputy commander during the war in Iraq, Allen took over Petraeus’ role as commander of U.S. operations in Afghanistan in 2011, when the latter was appointed to head the CIA.
He has been appointed to take over NATO command in Europe next year, pending Senate confirmation. His nomination has been put on hold, according to Pentagon chief Leon Panetta. Allen will remain in command of NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Kelley is the unpaid social liaison at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa who allegedly received threatening emails from Broadwell and reported them to the FBI, starting the investigation of the former CIA director which eventually led to his retirement.Interestingly, the first email sent anonymously to her referred to Kelley “socializing with other generals in the Tampa area and suggested it was inappropriate and should stop,” an anonymous source close to Kelley told NBC News.
Kelley, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants who moved to the Philadelphia in the 1970s, is married to Dr. Scott Kelley, a prestigious surgeon at the Moffitt Cancer Center. They live in a nearly 5,000-square-foot colonial-style home that they bought for about $1.5 million, according to property records.
Reports from the Tampa Bay Times and the AP describe Kelley as an active member of the Tampa social scene whose mansion is the “place to be seen” for high-ranking officers at U.S. Central Command, which Petraeus ran before leaving to run the war in Afghanistan.
The Times reports that in the decade since the Kelleys moved to Tampa, one or both of have been the subject of lawsuits “seeking payment of real estate and credit card debts intermingling with catered parties and A-list guests as the couple sought to establish themselves in Tampa.”
Kelley raised some suspicion when she hired D.C. superlawyer Abbe Lowell and crisis PR person Judy Smith before the link to Allen was made public. Lowell represented politicians like Bill Clinton and John Edwards during their scandals, and Smith has worked for names like Monica Lewinsky and Kobe Bryant.
She also reportedly received shirtless photos from an FBI agent who was on the Petraeus case. The agent was removed when investigators found out.
Here’s the full statement from the Secretary of Defense:
On Sunday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred to the Department of Defense a matter involving General John Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
Today, I directed that the matter be referred to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense for investigation, and it is now in the hands of the Inspector General. I have informed the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The House Armed Services Committee has also been notified.
While the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain Commander of ISAF. His leadership has been instrumental in achieving the significant progress that ISAF, 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. He is entitled to due process in this matter.
In the meantime, I have asked the President – and the President has agreed – to put his nomination on hold until the relevant facts are determined. I have asked both Senators Levin and McCain that the confirmation hearing on General Allen’s pending nomination to be Commander of United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe be delayed.
The President has nominated General Joseph Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, to succeed General Allen at ISAF. I respectfully requested that the Senate act promptly on that nomination.