Entries in John Allen (3)


Retired General John Allen Recalls Toll of Petraeus-linked Investigation

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on This Week, retired Gen. John Allen discussed the toll the Pentagon investigation into emails he exchanged with a Tampa socialite took on him and his wife, Kathy – who was suffering from auto-immune health issues.

“Every phone call was pretty grim. And they were getting worse by the minute…For many years, I had told– Kathy, as we had dealt with these issues, that– the day that this becomes too big, I will drop my letter the next day. She wasn’t going to tell me, but I was afraid where this would all end up [with her health]. And I finally made the decision it was time to go home,” Allen said.

The investigation into Allen, which concluded with him being completely cleared of any wrongdoing, took place after emails between him and Jill Kelley came to light during an investigation into exchanges between then CIA director David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, his biographer. Petraeus later resigned after his affair with Broadwell became public.

Allen told Raddatz the investigation led to personal reflection as he led coalition forces in Afghanistan. He retired last month turning down a NATO command. He now advises Secretary of Defense Hagel on Middle East peace talks.

“I had to reflect on whether I could– I believed I could remain in command. And I believed I could. In fact, I felt an obligation to a duty to remain in command…I had to deal with– the realities of something that was going on back here. I won’t– tell you that– that there wasn’t a lot of pressure in that regard. But my sense of duty to the war effort, and more importantly, my sense of duty to the troops demanded that I remained focused on that,” he said.

“Any time you’re investigated…and you have to remember back across three years– I hadn’t– I didn’t have any concerns about what was in the content of the e-mails…I was just interested in putting it behind me as quickly as we could,” he said.

Kathy Allen expressed surprise over the investigation into emails between her husband and Kelley, who she also was in communication with as well.

She also discussed her concern about the pressure the investigation would place on her husband.

“When someone shares an e-mail with her husband, you know, I thought, ‘Is somebody thinking this is a little odd that, you know, they’re taking this so seriously?’…I have a lot of faith in him. I have a lot of faith in our relationship…My biggest concern was for him because I thought, I don’t know how he can run a war and then have this added pressure,” she said.

Allen later invited Petraeus to his retirement party – saying he couldn’t retire without Petraeus and his wife present given the close relationship between the families.

“Dave and Holly Petraeus are like family…given all that he and I had experienced together, and our families had had together, I couldn’t retire without asking for Dave and Holly Petraeus to be present, ” he said.

Allen added that said he has not discussed the investigation with Petraeus.

“It doesn’t require that we have a conversation about it,” he said.

During the interview with Raddatz, Allen also addressed the current state of affairs in Iraq.

“My fear is that we could see a polarization of the principle elements in Iraq…the increase in violence for all of us that served there, in particular those of us who served in the Anbar Province, which was a really violent area…We don’t want to see it return to that.”

Raddatz asked Allen if the country would be more stable today had the United States kept a military presence in the country.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” Allen said.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Meets with New National Security Team Members

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will meet with the newest members of his national security team on Tuesday.

After bidding farewell to outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week and presenting him with the Medal of Freedom, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet privately with his successor Leon Panetta.

Panetta, the former head of the CIA, was sworn in Friday as Obama’s second defense secretary, vowing to preserve the power of the U.S. military despite budget cuts and to defeat al Qaeda.

The president will also meet on Tuesday morning with Ryan Crocker, the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and Lt. Gen. John Allen, who is poised to take command of Western forces in Afghanistan and carry out the president’s order to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama’s National Security Staffing Shuffles

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will announce Thursday some major staff shuffling in his national security team.

As ABC News has reported:

    * CIA director Leon Panetta will be nominated for Secretary of Defense;
    * International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Commander Gen. David Petreaus will be nominated to be CIA director;
    * Marine General John Allen will be nominated to replace Petraeus at ISAF in Kabul, Afghanistan; and
    * former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will be nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.

These moves were several months in the making, the “culmination by a multi-month process of careful consideration by the president,” administration officials said, prompted by the decisions of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Gen. Karl Eikenberry (ret.) to exit the jobs they’ve held since 2007 and 2009, respectively.

Panetta was offered the job on Monday; he called President Obama back Monday evening and accepted the offer. Administration officials acknowledge that Panetta did so reluctantly, given his fondness for his current job at the CIA.

Administration officials referenced Panetta’s tenure at the CIA as evidence of the experience needed for his new role.

“Strong leadership, reinvigoration of institutional morale tremendously effective, very solid manager, obviously deep experience in budget and management of the government, has become over the last two plus years a close advisor to the president,” an administration official said, “Seen by the president as a very effective member of the team.”

President Obama met with Petreaus to discuss his potential new role on March 14 and 18. White House officials hope Petraeus, who will retire from the military to become CIA director, can take over at Langley in September, though he will stay in his current role until Allen has been confirmed and is prepared to assume command. 

Deputy CIA director Michael Morrell will serve as interim director.

Allen will serve as a special assistant to Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen in order to prepare for his new assignment, which they hope he will be able to assume in September as well.

President Obama met with Crocker on March 30 and offered him the position. Administration officials say they are seeking an early confirmation.

“We have laid this out in a way that we believe will provide for a seamless transition in each of these positions,” administration officials said. “That is no gap, no disruption in continuity in execution of policy.”

Copy 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio