The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications - mostly emails and spanning from 2010 to 2012 - between Allen and Jill Kelley, who has been identified as a long-time friend of the Petraeus family and a Tampa, Florida, volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base . . .
It was unclear how Allen knew Kelley, but he was stationed in Tampa as the deputy director of the U.S. military's Central Command for the three years until he took over in Afghanistan in 2011. Petraeus was head of the Tampa-based Central Command from 2008 to 2010.
Asked whether there was concern about the disclosure of classified information, the official, on condition of anonymity, said: "We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents."
But even the sheer volume of communication alone could raise questions. Allen and Kelley were exchanging around 30 pages of communication per day, on average. Even if the notes were short, such intense interaction might have consumed a lot of Allen's time.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement given to reporters flying with him to Perth, Australia that he had asked that Allen's nomination to be Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe be delayed "and the president has agreed".
Allen, who is now in Washington, was due to face a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, as was his slated successor in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford.
The FBI referred the case to the Pentagon on Sunday and Panetta directed the Defense Department's Inspector General to handle its investigation. Panetta informed the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee during the overnight flight to Australia. The House Armed Services Committee was also notified.
Shockingly, Gen. Allen is being left in command while the investigation proceeds. Could someone explain to me why a general with such an important task would have so much time to be communicating with some housewife of Tampa Bay? It's just absolutely incredible. What's the next shoe to drop? Will we be told that Kelley is a spy? Kelley has hired a powerful Washington, D.C. defense lawyer, Abbe Lowell, who has handled a number of high-profile scandals for Democrats, including John Edwards, Dan Rostenkowski, Gary Condit and Jim Wright. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claims he only learned of the investigation of Allen last Sunday. Yeah, right. This administration simply can't be believed, and it certainly can't be trusted to manage the affairs of this country. We're so screwed. We can't survive four years of this crap.