A day after the Pentagon cleared Gen. John Allen of any wrongdoing in email exchanges with a Tampa socialite, his nomination to take over as NATO’s supreme allied commander is back on track.
Currently serving as the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Allen’s nomination was placed on hold last November when the Pentagon inspector general began an investigation into his conduct.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said at Wednesday’s White House briefing that President Obama has decided to go forward with Allen’s nomination.
“The investigation is now complete,” said Carney. “We welcome its findings. And, therefore, we intend for the nomination to proceed.”
Carney expressed hope that the Senate would consider the nomination “in a timely manner. And you know, we will press the Senate to do just that.”
A spokesman for Allen released a statement saying the Marine general “was obviously pleased by the outcome” of the inspector general’s investigation.
The Pentagon inspector general investigated whether Allen’s email contacts with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley were inappropriate. Kelley was at the center of the scandal that led to the resignation of David Petraeus as CIA director after his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, came to light.
Kelley had contacted law enforcement to investigate a series of anonymous harassing emails later determined to have come Broadwell. After wrapping its investigation, the FBI referred to the Pentagon 20,000 to 30,000 documents of exchanges between Allen and Kelley that it felt needed further investigation.
Maj. David Nevers said Allen was informed that “the allegations against him were unsubstantiated and did not violate the requirement of exemplary conduct or the prohibition against conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.”
According to Nevers, Allen had “placed his faith in and fully supported the investigative process. He’s obviously pleased by the outcome.”
He described Allen as being “grateful for the support he received throughout this process from his chain of command, friends, family and colleagues. He remains focused, as he has always been, on leading the brave men and women of the ISAF team.”
Allen is expected to turn over command of NATO forces in Afghanistan on Feb. 10 to Gen. Joseph Dunford, who has already been confirmed by the Senate.