Levin: Petraeus scandal won't affect Allen's postwar plan

Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinSen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats The Hill's 12:30 Report Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence MORE (D-Mich.), told reporters on Tuesday that reported improper communications between Allen and Petreaus associate Jill Kelley will have no impact on  lawmakers's assessment of the four-star general's Afghan plan or his position. 

Allen is the top commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan and is tapped by the White House to take command of all American troops in Europe. 

When asked what effect DOD's ongoing inquiry into Allen and Kelley's relationship could have on how Allen's postwar plan is recieved by Congress, Levin replied: "Nothing, unless there is some evidence of wrongdoing." 

Levin did admit he was "astounded" at the reported 20,000 to 30,000 pages of correspondence between Kelley and Allen uncovered by FBI agents investigating Petraeus's affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. 

"If you can get over the numbers," the communications between Allen and Kelley clearly included no "knowledge or evidence of wrongdoing" by the four-star general, according to Levin. 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday urged Levin and other members of the Senate defense committee to expedite confirmation of Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is slated to replace Allen in Afghanistan. 

The White House has suspended Allen's nomination to become the top U.S. military officer in Europe, pending the inquiry by the Pentagon's Inspector General, according to DOD. 

That said, the Michigan Democrat told reporters that the Senate defense panel planned to request a DOD briefing on the status of the investigation and a timeline on when that IG investigation would be complete. 

Allen's postwar plan, which will determine how the rest of the remaining 68,000 Americans will be drawn down over the next two years, is due to the White House within weeks, according to Panett

Nearly 32,000 U.S. troops were pulled from the country this summer as part of the White House's endgame for Afghanistan, which is to have all combat troops out of the country by 2014. 

The Allen plan will rely on "several options based on the missions that we have to address in the [postwar] period," Panetta told reporters. 

Joint U.S.-Afghan counterterrorism operations, along with training and assistance for the Afghan National Security Forces, will be the main missions dominating that plan, he added.