– President Barack Obama has backed the top US commander in Afghanistan after the four-star general was dragged into the sex scandal that brought down former CIA director David Petraeus.
General John Allen was put under investigation after FBI agents probing email threats sent by General Petraeus’s mistress stumbled upon a vast trove of messages General Allen sent another married woman at the heart of the scandal.
According to a senior Pentagon official, the married general denies any sexual liaison with 37-year-old socialite Jill Kelley, but the sheer volume of correspondence could amount to conduct unbecoming an officer.
General Allen’s promotion to the post of NATO’s supreme commander in Europe had been due to be confirmed this week. He will now return to Kabul and remain in charge of allied forces in Afghanistan until the investigation is over.
General Petraeus resigned last week when it became clear his affair with military reservist Paula Broadwell, 40, who wrote a fawning biography of him, would become public.
FBI agents stumbled on the liaison after a complaint from Ms Kelley – a close friend of both generals – who told a federal agent she had received threatening emails. Investigators traced them to Ms Broadwell’s account.
The emails sent to Ms Kelley – who told investigators she did not know Ms Broadwell – suggest the biographer was jealous of the socialite’s rapport with the generals at US Central Command in Florida.
In one, according to the Wall Street Journal, Ms Broadwell said she’d seen Ms Kelley touching “him” (the man is unnamed) provocatively under the table.
It emerged yesterday that agents had discovered General Allen had sent a huge number of emails to Ms Kelley, triggering an inquiry into whether he had broken the law or any military regulations.
The FBI is investigating 20,000-30,000 pages of his correspondence. The Washington Post said this represented 200-300 emails between the pair.
A Pentagon official said some were seen as flirtatious.
The FBI has searched Ms Broadwell’s North Carolina home, removing items. The mother of two has not been seen there since General Petraeus quit – AFP