Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has spoken out for the first time about the allegations against General John R. Allen, that he had “inappropriate communications” with Florida socialite and military social liaison Jill Kelley.
General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is under investigation for his correspondence with Kelley, who is also embroiled in the David Petraeus sex scandal.
Investigators are looking at 20,000-plus pages of documents and emails between Jill Kelley and John Allen, some of which have been described by Pentagon officials as “flirtatious”. General John Allen has denied any wrongdoing.
Leon Panetta, speaking at a news conference in Perth on Wednesday, cautioned against reaching early conclusions about the veracity of allegations against General John Allen, which have added a new dimension to the Petraeus matter.
“No one should leap to any conclusions here,” Leon Panetta said in his first public comments on the matter when a reporter asked what John Allen might have done wrong.
Leon Panetta said he supports John Allen, who has been in command in Kabul since July 2011. He took over that summer for David Petraeus, who retired from the Army to head the CIA.
“He certainly has my continued confidence to lead our forces and to continue the fight,” Leon Panetta said.
The Pentagon chief declined to explain the nature of John Allen’s correspondence with Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite connected to the scandal that led to David Petraeus’ resignation last week as director of the CIA.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who appeared with Leon Panetta and their Australian counterparts at Wednesday’s news conference, declined to comment on the Allen case except to suggest it has not harmed the war effort.