Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the four-star U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan, exchanged thousands of “potentially inappropriate” emails with Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who claimed to have been harassed by the ex-mistress of former CIA Director David Petraeus, a senior defense official told POLITICO early Tuesday.
Allen, 58 and married, was nominated in October by President Barack Obama to be Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of the U.S. European Command. That nomination is now on hold, but Allen will remain commander of U.S. forces and the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, the official said.
The FBI notified the Defense Department on Sunday of “potentially inappropriate communications” between Allen and Kelley, and turned over to Pentagon lawyers 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails exchanged by the two from 2010 to 2012.
The email web has now ensnared two of the biggest stars of the U.S. national-security establishment, and two of the commanders in America’s longest war. Allen succeeded Petraeus as commander in Afghanistan in July 2011. Before that, Allen had been based in Tampa as deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command.
From late 2008 until mid-2010, Allen was deputy commander at CENTCOM while Petraeus was commander.
Kelley, 37, who had complained of threatening emails from Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, has been described as a Tampa socialite and friend of Petraeus who was viewed by Broadwell as a potential romantic rival.
Kelley’s complaint to an FBI agent about the emails touched off the investigation that led to the resignation of Petraeus, 60, on Friday.