U.S. General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
Honestly, if this were a script out of Hollywood, it would have been thrown out for being too ridiculous.
During his tenure as CIA director, David Petraeus is accused of having an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. Broadwell is accused of having sent menacing emails to Jill Kelley, who alerted the FBI to the alleged threats, which in turn led investigators to uncover information about Petraeus' adultery.
And this morning, we're learning about an alleged affair Kelley was having.
U.S. General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, is under investigation over allegations of "inappropriate" emails between him and the woman who sparked the probe into CIA Director David Petraeus, officials said early Tuesday.
In a statement, the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that the FBI had referred "a matter involving" Allen to the Department of Defense.... A senior defense official told reporters Tuesday that it was alleged there had been "inappropriate communications" between Allen and Jill Kelley.
Allen is not only the ISAF commander; he was also poised to take over as head of U.S. forces in Europe and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. That confirmation process is now on hold.
Though the general denies wrongdoing, the investigation reportedly found up to 30,000 pages of communications between Allen and Kelley over the course of three years.
Wait, it gets worse. Much worse.
The Wall Street Journal adds these disturbing details on the FBI's side of the equation.
Ms. Kelley, a volunteer who organizes social events for military personnel in the Tampa area, complained in May about the emails to a friend who is an FBI agent. That agent referred it to a cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation.
However, supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation, according to the officials.
The FBI officials found that he had sent shirtless pictures of himself to Ms. Kelley, according to the people familiar with the probe.
And in case that wasn't quite enough, the New York Times reports on how some of the details of the investigation were leaked to Republican congressmen, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
Ms. Kelley, a volunteer with wounded veterans and military families, brought her complaint to a rank-and-file agent she knew from a previous encounter with the F.B.I. office, the official also said. That agent, who had previously pursued a friendship with Ms. Kelley and had earlier sent her shirtless photographs of himself, was "just a conduit" for the complaint, he said. He had no training in cybercrime, was not part of the cyber squad handling the case and was never assigned to the investigation.
But the agent, who was not identified, continued to "nose around" about the case, and eventually his superiors "told him to stay the hell away from it, and he was not invited to briefings," the official said. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Monday night that the agent had been barred from the case.
Later, the agent became convinced -- incorrectly, the official said -- that the case had stalled. Because of his "worldview," as the official put it, he suspected a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama. The agent alerted Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who called the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, on Oct. 31 to tell him of the agent's concerns.
Based on what we're learning this morning, it appears much of this scandal was fueled by bizarre personal conduct, and a strange FBI agent who was a little too eager to undermine President Obama before the election with a controversy that had nothing to do with the White House.
Indeed, had the FBI agent in question not believed weird conspiracy theories about the president, he wouldn't have gone to Republican lawmakers, who in turn wouldn't have pushed the issue, which means the Petraeus scandal -- which involved no criminal wrongdoing -- probably would have gone away without further incident.