David Petraeus scandal widens: Top United States commander under investigation

Jill Kelley

The US defense official said that Allen denied any wrongdoing and that Panetta had opted to keep him in his job while the matter was under review, and until Dunford can be confirmed to replace him - a process that gains urgency given the potentially lengthy review process and the cloud it could cast over the mission in Afghanistan.

While the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain commander of ISAF, Panetta said, referring to the NATO-led force in Afghanistan.

Only hours earlier, Panetta had said he was reviewing Allen's recommendations on the future US presence in Afghanistan after most troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

Commending Allen's leadership in Afghanistan, Panetta said in his statement: He is entitled to due process in this matter.

At the same time, he noted that wanted the Senate to act promptly on Dunford's nomination.

The US official said Panetta was informed of the matter involving Allen on Sunday, as he flew to Hawaii, after the Pentagon's top lawyer called Panetta's chief of staff. The White House was informed next.

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