Pentagon: Allen taking time off before NATO hearing

The Pentagon has given Marine Gen. John Allen, the former top commander in Afghanistan, time off to rest before facing a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to be NATO’s next supreme commander, defense officials said Wednesday, pushing back against reports that he is considering abandoning the nomination.

“After 19 months in command in Afghanistan, and many before that spent away from home, Gen. Allen has been offered time to rest and reunite with his family before he turns his attention to his next assignment,” defense spokesman Army Lt. Col. Steven Warren said Wednesday.

“It’s normal to take leave after coming home from a war,” Col. Warren said, adding that the four-star general’s nomination is still active.

Foreign Policy magazine and other media outlets reported Wednesday that Gen. Allen is thinking about abandoning the nomination in order to avoid questions about his emails to a married Florida socialite.

The Pentagon’s inspector general last year investigated possibly inappropriate emails he had exchanged with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley that were found during an FBI investigation of former CIA Director David H. Petraeus, and cleared Gen. Allen of any wrongdoing.

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