President Obama accepted Gen. John Allen's request to retire from the military Tuesday, instead of going forward with his nomination to be supreme commander of NATO. This means the Love Pentagon scandal has ended the careers of two very high-ranking national security officials. Allen's nomination was put on hold when it was discovered he'd exchanged a lot of emails with Jill Kelley, the woman who sparked the investigation that exposed an affair between now-ex CIA chief David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell. Allen was cleared of any misconduct in a Pentagon investigation, and his official reason for retiring is "so that he can address health issues within his family," Obama said in a statement. The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran reports Allen's wife is seriously ill. Allen told the Post his decision was not influenced by the Pentagon investigation, but, Allen said of his wife, "The investigation took a toll on her."
Earlier this month, outgoing Defense Secretary said he met with Allen, and gave him this not-so-all-in advice: "My recommendation to him was: 'Take your time ... be with your family, think about what you need to do... I think your country will always find a way to make use of your great services, but you've got to make the decision as to what you want to do in the future." Obama's full statement:
Today, I met with General John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family. I told General Allen that he has my deep, personal appreciation for his extraordinary service over the last 19 months in Afghanistan, as well as his decades of service in the United States Marine Corps. General Allen presided over the significant growth in the size and capability of Afghan National Security Forces, the further degradation of al Qaeda and their extremist allies, and the ongoing transition to Afghan security responsibility across the country. He worked tirelessly to strengthen our coalition through his leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and to improve our relations with the Afghan government. Above all, he cares deeply for the men and women in uniform who serve our nation – as well as their families – and I am grateful for the sacrifices made by his family in supporting him during his service. John Allen is one of America’s finest military leaders, a true patriot, and a man I have come to respect greatly. I wish him and his family the very best as they begin this new chapter, and we will carry forward the extraordinary work that General Allen led in Afghanistan.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.