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Lawmakers probe widening generals scandal

By Kimberly Dozier and Nancy Benac

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:40 a.m. HST, Nov 14, 2012


WASHINGTON » Lawmakers are digging into the tangled tale of emails that exposed an extramarital affair ending David Petraeus' CIA career and led investigators to a questionable relationship between a Florida socialite and the general commanding the war in Afghanistan.

Their main question: Was national security threatened?

The extramarital affair was between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell, who U.S. officials say sent harassing, anonymous emails to a woman she apparently saw as a rival for Petraeus' affections. That woman, Jill Kelley, in turn traded sometimes flirtatious messages with Gen. John Allen, possible evidence of another inappropriate relationship.

The CIA's acting director, Michael Morell, started answering lawmakers' questions Tuesday on Capitol Hill, meeting with top Senate intelligence officials to explain the CIA's take on events that led to Petraeus' resignation last week after he acknowledged the affair. The lawmakers are especially concerned over reports that Broadwell had classified information on her laptop, though FBI investigators say they concluded there was no security breach.

President Barack Obama is expected to make his first comments on the widening scandal today, during a postelection news conference at the White House.

Obama had hoped to use the afternoon news conference, his first since his re-election, to build support for his economic proposals heading into negotiations with lawmakers on the so-called fiscal cliff. But the scandal could overshadow his economic agenda this week, derail plans for a smooth transition in his national security team and complicate war planning during a critical time in the Afghanistan war effort.

Allen has been allowed to stay in his job as commander of the Afghan war and provide a leading voice in White House discussions on how many troops will remain in Afghanistan — and for what purposes — after the U.S.-led combat operation ends in 2014. The White House said the investigation would not delay Allen's recommendation to Obama on the next phase of the U.S. troop drawdown from Afghanistan, nor would it delay the president's decision on the matter. Allen's recommendation is expected before the end of the year.

But Obama did put on hold Allen's nomination to become the next commander of U.S. European Command as well as the NATO supreme allied commander in Europe, at the request of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, until Pentagon investigators are able to sift through the 20,000-plus pages of documents and emails that involve Allen and Kelley.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today that he had "full confidence" in Allen and looked forward to working with him if he is ultimately confirmed.

The FBI decided to turn over the Allen information to the military once the bureau recognized it contained no evidence of a federal crime, according to a federal law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record and demanded anonymity. Adultery, however, is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Allen, 58, worked to save his imperiled career. He told Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that he is innocent of misconduct, according to Col. David Lapan, Dempsey's spokesman.

At a news conference today in Perth, Australia, Panetta said, "No one should leap to any conclusions," and said he is fully confident in Allen's ability to continue to lead in Afghanistan. He added that putting a hold on Allen's European Command nomination was the "prudent" thing to do.

Known as a close friend of Petraeus, Kelley, 37, triggered the FBI investigation that led to the retired four-star general's downfall as CIA director when she complained about getting anonymous, harassing emails. They turned out to have been written by Petraeus' mistress, Broadwell, who apparently was jealous of the attention the general paid to Kelley.

In the course of looking into that matter, federal investigators came across what a Pentagon official called "inappropriate communications" between Allen and Kelley, both of them married.

A senior U.S. official told The Associated Press that other senior U.S. officials who read the emails determined that the exchanges between Allen and Kelley were not sexually explicit or seductive but included pet names such as "sweetheart" or "dear." The official said that while much of the communication — including some from Allen to Kelley — is relatively innocuous, some could be construed as unprofessional and would cause a reasonable person to take notice.

That official and others who described the investigation requested anonymity on grounds that they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Kelley served as a sort of social ambassador for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., hosting parties for Petraeus when he was commander there from 2008-10. The friendship with the Petraeus began when they arrived in Tampa, and the Kelleys threw a welcome party at their home, a short distance from Central Command headquarters, introducing the new chief and his wife, Holly, to Tampa's elite, according to staffers who served with Petraeus.

Such friendships among senior military commanders and prominent local community leaders are common at any base.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers complained that they should have been told about the investigation earlier. Morell, who took over Petraeus' duties at the CIA, met with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and ranking Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia on Tuesday.

Asked by reporters if there was a national security breach with the Petraeus affair, Feinstein said, "I have no evidence that there was at this time."

Feinstein said today that Petraeus would testify to Congress, not about the affair, but about the Libya attack on Sept. 11 that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, but said no date had been set.

Acting CIA director Morell was expected to meet with the leaders of the House intelligence committee to discuss the Petraeus affair today, along with Deputy FBI director Sean Joyce. Ranking member of the intelligence committee Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., said the committee would be looking into the FBI handling of the Petraeus affair, and whether intelligence issues were involved.

The Senate Armed Services Committee planned to go ahead with Thursday's scheduled confirmation hearing on the nomination of Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is to replace Allen as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, if Allen is indeed promoted.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Petraeus should still testify about the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "if he has relevant information."

Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek, Lolita Baldor, Pete Yost, Adam Goldman, Jack Gillum, Larry Margasak, Julie Pace, Donna Cassata, Jim Abrams, Robert Burns and Slobodan Lekic contributed to this report.







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loquaciousone wrote:
It must be the STARS. The more stars you have on your collar, the more horny you get.
on November 14,2012 | 05:58AM
Ripoff wrote:
lol classic
on November 14,2012 | 08:56AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Seems like the more stars you put on your collar, the hornier you get.
on November 14,2012 | 06:04AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
Why is this news? Men and women, men and men, women and women do this all the time! How do you think you came into being?
on November 14,2012 | 06:37AM
tiki886 wrote:
However, people in positions of holding the secrets of our nation cannot allow themselves to be subject to blackmail or extortion.
on November 14,2012 | 07:18AM
HD36 wrote:
A great distraction to focus away from the fiscal cliff.
on November 14,2012 | 07:17AM
sluggah wrote:
Keep your eyes on the ball, people, this is a distraction from the fiscal cliff and the real story behind Benghazi.
on November 14,2012 | 07:47AM
maafifloos wrote:
Biographer?? Do all genarals have biographers? Who pays for them? How/who justifies security clearance for biographer?
on November 14,2012 | 08:00AM
HawaiiNoKaOi wrote:
Ok, whose running our country these days? Seems like our leaders have too much free time on their hands. What's next?
on November 14,2012 | 08:34AM
bully106 wrote:
i hope this this thing with Gen Allen isn't only about two adult friends calling each other "dear" and "sweetheart" because that happens these days and it's not grounds for dismissal. (although that kelley lady sounds like a real tuna or undercover spy. let's get the real bad guy... i mean bad girl -- here. it's all about that broadwell broad who did have an affair under the desk with an old important guy and even admitted to taking classified material home. and in what capacity? MISTRESS?? i think she is a real tuna and also maybe an undercover spy, too. and don't tell me that the higher up you get the lonelier it is... all men over 40 are scoundrels!!!
on November 14,2012 | 11:29AM
roadsterred wrote:
What a joke! Four Americans, one of which is an ambassador, are murdered in Libya and lawmakers drag their feet when it comes to investigating. However, uncover a sex scandal with the involvement of two generals, one active and one retired, and the lawmakers are scrambling in the name of national security. God bless the USA!
on November 14,2012 | 04:28PM
entrkn wrote:
When I see our national and international leaders and heroes fall because they were seduced by trophy hunting, scheming, conniving harlots with and without agendas, I always ask myself why they aren't being held responsible too, at the felony level… America is hurt when these great men are dragged down and there needs to be serious consequences for the perpetrators too… A new era of women's equality: you play and hurt America, you pay too, in the form of extensive maximum security hard time. I call on our lawmakers to create a serious comprehensive law and enforce it NOW!
on November 14,2012 | 07:55PM
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