UK & World News

  • 14 November 2012, 2:06

Petraeus' Successor John Allen In Email Probe

US President Barack Obama "has faith" in America's top commander in Afghanistan, a spokesman has said - as more details emerged connecting him to the scandal surrounding the CIA's ex-director.

General John Allen is under investigation for alleged "inappropriate communications" with Jill Kelley, who is said to have received threatening emails from a woman conducting an extramarital affair with General David Petraeus.

Gen Petraeus resigned as CIA chief last week over his affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer.

Gen Allen succeeded Gen Petraeus as the senior American commander in Afghanistan in July 2011.

The White House on Tuesday said the president "has faith" in Gen Allen to continue leading forces in Afghanistan while the investigation is ongoing. 

In the latest twist of the evolving scandal, court records have indicated that Gen Allen and Gen Petraeus intervened last September in the divorce proceedings of Ms Kelley's twin sister. 

Records show both generals wrote letters supporting Natalie Khawam in her custody battle. 

Gen Allen reportedly knew Ms Khawam socially when he served as deputy commander of US Central Command in Florida.

Gen Allen's nomination to become the next commander of the US European Command and the commander of Nato forces in Europe has been put on hold.

Ms Kelley has been described as an unpaid social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, which is headquarters to the US Central Command. She is not a US government employee.

Meanwhile, the CIA has dismissed as "baseless" claims by Ms Broadwell that Libyan militants were held in covert prisons before a deadly attack on the Benghazi US consulate on September 11.

She alleged in a speech that the attack on the base, in which US ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed, was part of an attempt to free prisoners.

She also claimed that Gen Petraeus knew of the hidden cells - even though Mr Obama took away the CIA's power to take prisoners soon after he was inaugurated in January 2009.

Her comments were recorded on video and put on YouTube, but the clip has since been taken down.

A spokesman for the CIA said: "Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless."

The nature of the alleged communications between Gen Allen and Ms Kelley has not been disclosed. An official said they ran to as many as 30,000 pages of emails and other documents dated from 2010 to 2012.

"General Allen disputes that he has engaged in any wrongdoing in this matter," an unnamed official told the AP news agency.

Gen Allen remains in his post as commander of the International Security Assistance Force, based in Kabul.

It is thought the FBI's decision to refer the matter to the Pentagon, rather than deal with it itself, along with the move to let Gen Allen continue in his job without suspension, mean his alleged actions may be viewed as breaking military rules rather than any criminal laws.

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