White House: Gen. Allen nomination for NATO post will proceed

Gen. John Allen’s nomination to become NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe will move forward after he was cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation into inappropriate emails, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.

Carney said at Wednesday’s press briefing that Allen’s nomination had been greenlighted now that the Defense Department Inspector General had ended its investigation and all charges of misconduct were found not to be substantiated, which the Pentagon announced Tuesday evening. Allen will soon give up his post as commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Allen’s nomination to become NATO Supreme Allied Commander and head of U.S. European Command was put on hold after the Inspector General launched an investigation into his email correspondence with Jill Kelley, one of the women involved in the scandal surrounding former CIA Director David Petraeus.

The FBI had uncovered 20,000 to 30,000 pages of correspondence between Allen and Kelley during the investigation that revealed Petraeus was having an affair; the correspondence was turned over to the Pentagon for an investigation.

Allen had denied any wrongdoing.

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The Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had “complete confidence in the continued leadership of Gen. Allen.”

Allen’s connection to the Petraeus affair could make his confirmation hearing more colorful, but it’s unlikely he will face significant opposition, barring any new revelations surfacing in the IG investigation.

Allen is currently providing recommendations to the White House for what the U.S. troop level should be through 2014 and beyond, his last major assignment before Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford takes over the Afghan command.

— Justin Sink contributed.