Over two months after allegations surfaced that he'd carried on an inappropriate relationship with Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite at the center of the Petraeus scandal, General John Allen is off the hook. The Pentagon's inspector general sent Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, a nice letter last Friday that cleared him of wrongdoing after an investigation showed that he did not, in fact, violate military codes of conduct. He did send Kelley some emails that weren't exactly G-rated, though, as an unnamed officer with knowledge of the investigation told The Washington Post. "Some of the messages are not the sort of things you would print in a family newspaper," said the official. "But that doesn't mean he violated military regulations by sending and receiving them." Because hey, let's be honest. Even top-level military officials like to flirt on the Internet. That doesn't make them bad people, though.
It does make the scandal a little less juicy, which has kind of been the trend lately. It all started when The Seattle Times leaked the supposedly super scandalous shirtless photo -- alliteration, oh my! -- of the FBI agent who investigated a series of potentially abusive emails sent to Kelley back in mid-November. Turns out it was definitely not even regular scandalous but just a joke between friends. (It's kind of a funny photo, too.) Paula Broadwell, whose threatening emails to Kelley incited the FBI investigation, was unmasked soon thereafter as being an ambitious Beltway type with ambitions to run for office -- just like every other young professional in Washington DC. The scandal had clearly started to cool by the time that a letter from the former CIA director to retired Brig. Gen. James Shelton in which the Petraeus confessed that he had "screwed up royally" and how his wife was "once again demonstrating how incredibly fortunate [he] was to marry her."
This Petraeus guy does seem pretty genuine, doesn't he? Well, so did John Allen when all of his friends rose to his defense after he was accused of exchanging some 30,000 emails with Kelley, who's turning out to be a pretty curious character herself. In fact, Allen did not send 30,000 emails to Kelley -- he never even met the woman! Allen did, however, watch his nomination to become supreme allied commander of Europe disappear just months before he's scheduled to relinquish control of Afghanistan. It's unclear if the Pentagon will request his nomination again, but as of this writing they have not.
So can we just leave Gen. John Allen alone now? He was probably just being nice when he emailed Kelley, and sometimes nice guys jumble up their words when talking to a pretty girl. After all, Gen. John Allen is a gentleman. "He returns almost every e-mail," explained the unnamed official. "To him, it's a sign of politeness."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.