Allen denies wrongdoing; Broadwell home searched

The sex scandal that led to CIA Director David Petraeus’ resignation widened on Tuesday, with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan John Allen under investigation for alleged “inappropriate communications” with a woman who received threatening emails from Mr. Petraeus’ former lover.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta revealed that the Pentagon had begun an internal investigation into thousands of pages of emails from General John Allen to a second woman involved in the Petraeus case.

General Allen succeeded Mr. Petraeus as the top American commander in Afghanistan in July 2011, and his nomination to become the next commander of the U.S. European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe has been put on hold.

In a White House statement early on Tuesday, National Security spokesman Tommy Vietor said President Barack Obama has held General Allen’s nomination at Mr. Panetta’s request. Meanwhile, FBI agents prepared a timeline of the Mr. Petraeus’ affair and searched the home of Paula Broadwell, the biographer with whom Mr. Petraeus had an affair that led to his abrupt resignation on Friday. The resignation and his acknowledgement of an affair stunned Washington because of the former general’s highly disciplined and well-praised career. It was Ms. Broadwell’s threatening emails to Jill Kelley, a Florida woman who is a Petraeus family friend, which led to the FBI’s discovery of communications between Ms. Broadwell and Mr. Petraeus indicating they were having an affair.

A Pentagon official said 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails and other documents from General Allen’s communications with Ms. Kelley between 2010 and 2012 are under review. He would not say whether they involved sexual matters or whether they are thought to include unauthorised disclosures of classified information. He said he did not know whether Mr. Petraeus is mentioned in the emails.

General Allen has denied any wrongdoing.

The new details in the case brought expressions of amazement in Congress, already in an uproar over the Petraeus affair. Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the case “a Greek tragedy”.

“It’s just tragic,” Mr. King said on NBC. “This has the elements in some ways of a Hollywood movie or a trashy novel.”

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