Conflict & Justice

Gen. John Allen cleared by Pentagon over emails with Jill Kelley, Tampa socialite


Gen. John Allen looks on following a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers at NATO headquarter in Brussels on Otober 10, 2012.


Thierry Charlier

Marine Gen. John Allen has been cleared by the Pentagon over email communications between him and Tampa socialite Jill Kelley.

A Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday that Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, was cleared following an extensive investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general's office, USA Today reported

Kelley, the wife of a Tampa surgeon with close connections to the US military's upper echelons, is linked to Paula Broadwell, David Petraeus' biographer whose affair with him led to his resignation last year as CIA director.

The investigation into the Petraeus-Broadwell affair uncovered communications between Kelley and Allen.

Broadwell allegedly sent threatening emails to Kelley, warning her against fostering close relations with her lover, Petraeus.

More from GlobalPost: Jill Kelley on Petraeus scandal: ‘There was blackmail’ 

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta then ordered an FBI investigation into whether Allen and Kelley had exchanged inappropriate messages — described by senior defense officials as racy and flirtatious.

The pair reportedly knew each other through the work Kelley to promote support for the armed forces in Tampa, home to Central Command, which oversees the war in Afghanistan.

Allen was scheduled to complete his tour as commander in Afghanistan next month and had been nominated to be NATO commander in Europe.

The nomination was placed on hold pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Washington Post on Tuesday cited a letter sent to Allen on Friday in which the Pentagon inspector general wrote that Allen had not violated military prohibitions against conduct unbecoming an officer. 

"He was completely exonerated," a senior official told the Post.

Citing a statement by Pentagon spokesman George Little, USA Today wrote that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had "complete confidence in the continued leadership of General Allen, who is serving with distinction in Afghanistan."

Allen is scheduled to relinquish command in Afghanistan early next month.

The Pentagon has not yet requested that the Senate Armed Services Committee reschedule his nomination for supreme allied commander in Europe.