Probe of Jill Kelley, Gen. John Allen centers on 60 e-mails

9:45 AM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) -- The Pentagon investigation into hundreds of e-mail exchanges between Marine Gen. John Allen and Florida socialite Jill Kelley now centers on 60 to 70 e-mails that "bear a fair amount of scrutiny," a defense official tells The New York Times.

The report comes a day after Kelley's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, released e-mails, telephone recordings and other material that he and Kelley say prove she never tried to exploit her friendship with Allen or former CIA director David Petraeus. Lowell also wrote to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, demanding to know why the name of his client and her husband were revealed to the news media in the first place.

The Pentagon investigation, which threatens Allen's pending appointment as NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, involves about 15 investigators working seven days a week but could take months to complete, the Times reports. The Times cites a defense official the newspaper says asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the inquiry.

The defense official tells the Times there is no evidence so far of security violations, but that half a dozen of the e-mails may be considered embarrassing.

Allen, who is in Afghanistan, is cooperating with the investigation and has denied wrongdoing. Still, the Times says investigators are trying to determine whether any e-mails violated Defense Department policy, government regulations or military law.

The e-mails were discovered by the FBI during an investigation of anonymous e-mails sent to Kelley warning her to stay away from Petraeus. The e-mails, it turned out, had been sent by Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell. That revelation led the retired four-star general to acknowledge a prior affair with Broadwell and resign his CIA post Nov. 9.

Allen and Petraeus met Kelley while stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, headquarters of the Central Command. The Times says the inquiry does not appear to have progressed to interviews with Allen, 58, who is married and the father of two, or Kelley, 37, the wife of a cancer surgeon and the mother of three.

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