New episode in saga of top US chiefs' scandal
AFP photoThe top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, is under investigation for sending “inappropriate” emails to a woman linked to the scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus.
The revelation represented yet another stunning turn in a widening scandal that has jolted Washington only days after the re-election of President Barack Obama, with lawmakers vowing to get to the bottom of the case. The Pentagon official told reporters the FBI had uncovered a trove of 20,000 to 30,000 pages of correspondence spanning from 2010 to 2012, mostly emails, between Allen and Jill Kelley, a key figure in the scandal that brought down the CIA chief.
The official said there was a “distinct possibility” the Allen emails were connected to the Petraeus investigation. “The allegations involve inappropriate communications” between Allen and Kelley, the official said.
NATO post delayed
Asked whether there was concern about the disclosure of classified information, the official, on condition of anonymity, said: “We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents.”
It was Kelley’s complaints about harassing emails from Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom Petraeus had an affair with that prompted an FBI investigation and alerted authorities to Petraeus’ involvement with Broadwell. Petraeus resigned from his job last week.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that his department was informed by the FBI on Nov. 11 about the case and that he had referred it to the Pentagon’s inspector general for investigation. Panetta added that Allen’s nomination to be Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe would be delayed “and the president has agreed.” It remained unclear what allegations Allen faced, and officials declined to comment on whether he was accused of using his work email to communicate with Kelley or had disclosed any classified information. Allen, who is now in Washington, was due to face a Senate confirmation hearing tomorrow, as was his slated successor in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Petraeus shocked over threatening emails
Both Petraeus and Allen served in Tampa, home to U.S. Central Command, which Petraeus led before taking over as commander in Afghanistan in 2010. It was also revealed that Petraeus was shocked to learn last summer that Broadwell was suspected of sending threatening emails warning Kelley to stay away from him, according to former staff members and friends.
Petraeus told associates his relationship with Kelley, was platonic, though his lover Broadwell apparently saw her as a romantic rival. He also denied to these associates that he had given Broadwell any of the sensitive military information alleged to have been found on her computer, saying anything she had must have been provided by other commanders during her reporting trips to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, FBI agents searched Broadwell’s home in North Carolina. FBI agents appeared carrying the kinds of cardboard boxes often used to gather evidence during a search.
Obama may pıck Sen Kerry for defense post, says report
U.S. President Barack Obama is considering appointing John Kerry, a senator for Massachusetts, to the post of defense secretary, as part of a reshuffle of his Cabinet after his election victory.
Although Kerry has long been seen as a likely replacement for Hillary Clinton at the State Department, senior administration officials said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, according to the Washington Post. Rice’s credibility, however, took a blow after making controversial remarks regarding the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens on Sept. 11.
Following CIA chief David Petraeus’ shocking resignation, John Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, is a leading contender for the CIA job if he wants it, the report said.
The timing of a nomination for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s successor is unclear. Panetta refused to speculate on how soon he might step down and even joked that he couldn’t rule out spending another term in the job, saying: “Who the hell knows?”
“It’s no secret that at some point I’d like to get back to California. It’s my home,” Panetta told reporters. He said he had no imminent plans to step down but indicated he was unlikely to stay in the job.