The White House has announced it will go ahead with the nomination of General John R. Allen as NATO commander in Europe.
The announcement comes after John Allen was cleared of allegations he had “inappropriate” communication with Florida socialite Jill Kelley.
Gen. John Allen is to relinquish command of the NATO mission in Afghanistan next month.
Unrelated harassment complaints by Jill Kelley led to the revelation of an affair between CIA chief David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
General Allen’s nomination to lead the NATO command in Europe was placed on hold after it was revealed last year he had communicated repeatedly with Jill Kelley, whom he met when he led US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
The emails between the two first came to light as part of a wider investigation into email harassment against Jill Kelley, who knew both Gen. John Allen and David Petraeus, a former general, through social contacts at the base.
When the FBI investigated, it traced the emails to David Petraeus’s biographer Paula Broadwell, bringing to light her affair with the CIA chief.
Earlier reports suggested Gen. John Allen had exchanged over 3,000 emails, some described as inappropriate and flirtatious, with Jill Kelley.
The Afghanistan commander had also written a letter to a judge in support of Jill Kelley’s twin sister in a messy child custody dispute.
A spokesman for Gen. John Allen said the general was “obviously pleased” to be cleared of the charges he had violated the prohibition against conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
“From the outset, the general placed his faith in – and fully supported – the investigative process,” Maj. David Nevers said.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said the defence department “was pleased to learn that allegations of professional misconduct were not substantiated”, adding that Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had “complete confidence in the continued leadership” of Gen. John Allen.
Defence officials told the Washington Post that the full investigation had shown that there were in fact only several hundred emails exchanged between Gen. John Allen and Jill Kelley, mostly notes on current news topics and social matters or compliments on General Allen’s television interviews.
“Some of the messages are not the sort of things you would print in a family newspaper,” the official said.
“But that doesn’t mean he violated military regulations by sending and receiving them.”david petraeus, jill kelley, john r allen, leon panetta, nato commander