American commander in Afghanistan linked to ongoing Petraeus investigation
General John Allen had exchanged emails with woman at heart of Petraeus affair
The American commander in Afghanistan General John Allen has now been linked to the broadening David Petraeus scandal. The general is now accused of sending "inappropriate communications to Jill Kelly, who is at the heart of an adulterous scandal between Petraeus and his alleged mistress Paula Broadwell.
According to officials, inappropriate emails between General Allen and Jill Kelly - described as being "flirtatious" - had been exchanged.
Officials are now reviewing 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents, chiefly emails between 2010 and 2012. One official would only say "there is the distinct possibility" this case is connected to the Petraeus investigation.
FBI agents have since conducted a search of Broadwell's home in Charlotte, N.C. Agents appeared at Broadwell's home carrying cardboard boxes typically used for evidence gathering during a search. Agents declined comments to the media.
In another development in the case, Fox News reported that an FBI agent who originally spurred the Petraeus investigation was taken off the case because authorities grew concerned about his relationship with Kelley.
Kelley had alerted this agent to her concerns about the harassing emails from the beginning - but was removed from the case after the agent began to send her pictures of him shirtless. He now faces an internal investigation.
Allen will remain the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has nonetheless referred the case to the Pentagon's inspector general's office for investigation. Allen's nomination to be commander of U.S. European Command and commander of NATO forces in Europe has officially been put on hold.
Allen was scheduled to have a nomination hearing this week. He had been expected to take that new post in early 2013, if confirmed by the Senate.
An official declined to say whether the communications between Allen and Kelley involved sexual matters or whether they are thought to include unauthorized disclosures of classified information or any criminal activity. He also says he doesn't know whether Petraeus is mentioned in the emails.
"Gen. Allen disputes that he has engaged in any wrongdoing in this matter," the official said.
These newfound revelations about Allen are the latest twist in a scandal that has captivated the American public since Petraeus abruptly resigned.
Petraeus' resigned after the 37-year-old Kelley alerted the FBI about harassing emails, which appeared to be an attempt to blackmail Petraeus, sources said. It was widely reported that Broadwell was behind the emails, but early indications now suggest that they might not have come from her.
According to Fox News, multiple law enforcement sources say that the emails came from multiple dummy accounts, which were traced back to Broadwell. The reason the FBI had jurisdiction is because cyber-harassment is a federal crime, and once the FBI got to Broadwell they uncovered the affair.
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