Marine Gen. John Allen made clear Wednesday that he expects to be cleared of wrongdoing or involvement in the sex scandal that forced CIA Director David Petraeus to resign in disgrace.
A statement issued by his military lawyer also suggested that Allen, the allied commander in Afghanistan, expects that his nomination by President Obama to be promoted to take over command of NATO as head of the European Command would eventually be approved by the Senate.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta put Allen’s nomination on hold when the general’s name surfaced as a close friend and frequent emailer with the Florida socialite whose complaints to the FBI triggered the investigation that uncovered the affair between Petraeus and his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell.
In the statement on Allen’s behalf, Col. John G. Baker, chief defense counsel of the Marine Corps, said that Allen’s voluminous email exchanges with Jill Kelley, who billed herself as a goodwill “ambassador” at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, “is the subject of a Defense Department Inspector General's Investigation, and I am currently assisting him in that process.”
Aides to Allen have stressed that his relationship with Kelley was platonic, and Baker said that Allen “intends to fully cooperate with the Inspector General Investigators and directed his staff to do the same. To the extent there are questions about certain communications by Gen. Allen, he shares in the desire to resolve those.”
A senior Defense Department official on Tuesday characterized Allen’s emails to Kelley as possibly “inappropriate and flirtatious.”
Baker said that Allen can’t comment on the investigation but noted that he “does sincerely appreciate the support expressed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, members of Congress, and members of the public” in his integrity.
Allen was in Washington for the nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee that had been scheduled for Thursday, but he was now expected to return to Kabul this weekend to resume command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
The hearing will go ahead for Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who has been nominated to replace Allen as ISAF commander, and a hearing for Allen on his own nomination as NATO commander would take place when the DOD’s Inspector General investigation is complete.