News Column

Report: US Gen. Allen Expected to Withdraw NATO Candidacy

Feb. 13, 2013

US General John Allen is expected to withdraw his candidacy for supreme allied commander of NATO, NBC news reported Wednesday.

Allen's candidacy had been put on hold on suspicion of misconduct in a sex scandal that took down former CIA director David Petraeus, but the Pentagon last month cleared him of suspicion and the White House said his nomination for supreme NATO commander would proceed.

Allen was considering withdrawing his candidacy to spare his family questions about the affair during public confirmation hearings before the Senate that pry into every corner of a person's career, NBC reported. It cited three unnamed military sources in the story.

Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, in a farewell news conference, did not confirm Allen's intention to withdraw the nomination, but said he had met with him on Tuesday.

Panetta said he had recommended to Allen that he take his time, be with his family after returning from Afghanistan and think about what he needed to do.

Panetta said he had told Allen: "'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'."

Allen, who authored the US troop surge, on Sunday handed over his command of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan to US Marine General Joseph Dunford.

Panetta praised Allen's service as "pivotal" in changing the direction of the war in Afghanistan for the better, and said he had been under "tremendous amount of pressure" and challenges.

In the scandal, the CIA's Petraeus had had an extramarital affair with his biographer. But the biographer-mistress, in turn, had sent jealous harassing e-mails to another woman whom she knew had close contact with Petraeus.

The second woman, who complained to the FBI about the harassing mails from the mistress, was then found to be having detailed e-mail exchanges with Allen.

After the Pentagon cleared Allen of misconduct, his nomination was to have gone forward. NBC said Allen was to meet with President Barack Obama in the coming days.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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