The White House said Friday President Obama has put the nomination of Gen. John Allen on hold as the general decides whether he wants to take on the role of NATO supreme commander.
Mr. Allen’s nomination has been in limbo since November, when a Justice Department investigation found emails between the general and a woman connected to the adultery scandal that cost former CIA Director David Petraeus his post.
Traveling on Air Force One to Chicago Friday, White House spokesman Joshua Earnest told reporters that Gen. Allen is taking some personal time with his family to decide whether he wants the NATO role, one of the most prestigious — and political — posts in the military hierarchy.
“He wanted to spend some time talking to his family about what he’d like to do next,” Mr. Earnest said. “And that’s certainly something that is understandable given what he’s been up to the last 19 months. So we’re happy to give him the opportunity to consider what he would like to do next.”
Mr. Allen previously served for 19 months as the top commander in Afghanistan, and Mr. Earnest said the president still has a “ton of confidence” in him.
An internal Pentagon investigation into the email exchanges cleared Gen. Allen of any wrongdoing earlier this month. Mr. Petraeus resigned his post after the FBI probe uncovered an extramarital affair between Gen. Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell.
NBC News and other outlets Thursday reported that Gen. Allen is likely to withdraw his name from consideration to be supreme allied commander in Europe out of concern that emails he sent to the woman, Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, would be made public during the confirmation process.