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Exonerated Gen. Allen up for top NATO command

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military official in Afghanistan, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a Pentagon inspector general's investigation into allegedly inappropriate emails between him and a married socialite in Tampa, Fla.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta "was pleased to learn that allegations of professional misconduct were not substantiated by the investigation. The secretary has complete confidence in the continued leadership of Gen. Allen, who is serving with distinction in Afghanistan," a Pentagon statement said.

Gen. Allen's nomination to become the next commander of NATO had been postponed pending the outcome of the investigation. His exoneration clears the way for him to be confirmed as the alliance's next top leader.

The Pentagon investigation was launched after an FBI probe into threatening emails to the socialite, Jill Kelley, revealed that the sender was Paula Broadwell, the biographer of then-CIA Director David H. Petraeus. Mr. Petraeus resigned in November after admitting having an extramarital affair with Mrs. Broadwell.

An examination of Mrs. Kelley's emails uncovered her correspondence with Gen. Allen, which defense officials had described as "flirtatious." The Pentagon's inspector general launched an investigation to determine whether those emails were inappropriate or violated the U.S. Military Code of Justice.

Gen. Allen and Mrs. Kelley became friends when he served at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa.

• Cheryl K. Chumley contributed to this article.

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