Petraeus scandal shakes Washington

(By Deutsche Welle) The US national security establishment has been shaken by a sex scandal involving David Petraeus. Respected for his role in the Afghan and Iraq wars, the former general may have become a casualty of his own power.

Just days after Petraeus resigned his post as CIA director over an affair with his biographer, General John Allen’s nomination to lead US European Command has been delayed over his alleged connections to a woman at the center of the scandal.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued a statement to reporters saying that Allen’s nomination had been delayed over alleged inappropriate communication with Jill Kelley, the woman who initiated an FBI investigation that ultimately led to the uncovering of Petraeus’ extramarital affair. A Pentagon official said the FBI had uncovered more than 20,000 pages of correspondence between Allen and Kelley, according to the Reuters and AFP news agencies.

Petraeus resigned his position as director of the Central Intelligence Agency last Friday, after National Intelligence Director James Clapper informed the White House of the general’s affair with Paula Broadwell, author of the 2012 Petraeus profile called “All In.”

Kelley had told an FBI friend that she was receiving harassing emails from an anonymous person, who accused her of pursuing Petraeus romantically. As a volunteer who helps military families in Tampa, Florida, Kelley and her husband befriended Petraeus during his tenure as the head of US Central Command, which is based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Kelley’s FBI friend helped initiate a federal inquiry, which ultimately linked the emails to Broadwell. After obtaining access to Broadwell’s email account, investigators concluded she was having an affair with Petraeus, after they discovered sexual explicit correspondence with the general. Although investigators later found that no crime had been committed, there has been concern on Capitol Hill that the scandal could have somehow compromised classified information.

The scandal comes as the CIA, Defense Department and White House have come under growing scrutiny for the handling of the response to the September 11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in that attack.

Petraeus, widely regarded as one of the most respected public servants in the US, was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday regarding the role the CIA played in the response to the consulate attack. Allen’s nomination to lead the US European Command and become the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe was also originally scheduled to go before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

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