The FBI's probe into a sex scandal leading to the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus now includes Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan and Jill Kelley, whose complaints she was getting emails from Petraeus' reported mistress lead to his downfall.
The Pentagon announced early today that the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of "potentially inappropriate e-mails" between Allen and Kelley. Allen, who is in the Marines, followed Petraeus as the top allied commander in Afghanistan in July 2011.
The revelation could explain why Kelley, 37, has retained high-powered attorneys and PR professionals to represent her, when initially she said portrayed herself as being victimized by Paula Broadwell, whose affair with Petraeus ended the CIA leader's command.
In addition, it could also explain why the FBI was willing to investigate the complaints of a Tampa socialite who said she was being, in essence, cyberbullied through emails from Broadwell.
Military officials learned of Allen's communications with Kelley Sunday evening, reports the Washington Post.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta referred the investigation to the Defense Department's Inspector General for further review, and the latest development has shaken President Barack Obama's national security staff.
Allen, like Petraeus, is considered an intellectual role model who is one of the most influential leaders in the military. However, it calls into question the personal life of yet another man who appeared on the surface to be beyond reproach.
Panetta said Allen will remain as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan “while the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined.”
However, Panetta has already asked the Senate to confirm Allen's likely successor, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who Obama nominated last month to replace Allen. The Senate Armed Services was already to hold a confirmation hearing on Dunford Thursday, and Panetta asked the Senate to expedite the review.
The Pentagon has already notified the White House and Senate and House leaders about the FBI's investigation into Allen. It's not clear if Allen will be subject to criminal prosecution, because the Pentagon is still going through the e-mails to determine their content. However, because Allen is active military, he could be convicted of adultery, which is classified as a crime under the military Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Kelley's name first surfaced nationally over the weekend, after she complained of threatening emails about her friendship with Petraeus. The Pentagon official said the Allen-Kelley emails occurred between 2010 and this year, but he didn't say if the emails came on Allen's military account, or if they were sent to a personal address.