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Obama backs Allen over Petraeus sex scandal

Published on Nov 14, 2012 5:55 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama gave his backing to the commander of United States (US) forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday after the top general was dragged into the sex scandal that brought down Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director David Petraeus.

General John Allen was placed under investigation after Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents probing email threats sent by Petraeus' mistress stumbled upon a vast trove of "flirtatious" messages Mr Allen sent to another woman at the heart of the scandal.

According to a senior Pentagon official, Mr Allen denies any sexual liaison with the woman, 37-year-old Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, but the "sheer volume" of correspondence could be found to amount to "conduct unbecoming an officer".

Due to face lawmakers this week for a hearing to confirm his promotion to the post of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (Nato) supreme commander in Europe, Mr Allen will now return to Kabul and remain in charge in Afghanistan until the investigation is over.

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