By Barbara Starr
A top general caught up in the scandal that forced former CIA Director David Petraeus to resign has been cleared of allegations that he wrote potentially inappropriate e-mails to Jill Kelley, the woman who claimed she was being threatened by Paula Broadwell, a U.S. defense official tells CNN.
The Department of Defense Inspector General has cleared Gen. John Allen, who currently is completing his post leading U.S. troops in Afghanistan and is in the running to be the next Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the military head of NATO.
"The IG has found the allegations against General Allen to be unsubstantiated. There have been no decisions made on General Allen's nomination to NATO," the official told CNN.
General Allen's nomination to be the military head of NATO was put on hold by the administration pending the outcome of the IG review. The secretary of defense now must decide whether to recommend to the White House whether the nomination, which has been put on hold, should go forward. But it was not known if Sec. Leon Panetta would make that decision or leave it for the next secretary of defense to decide.
The Pentagon released as statement late Tuesday that said Panetta was "pleased" with the conclusion of the inspector general's investigation.
"The Secretary has complete confidence in the continued leadership of General Allen, who is serving with distinction in Afghanistan," the statement read.
By Jake Tapper, Elise Labott and Ted Barrett
Republican members of Congress plan a host of questions for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her long-awaited testimony on Wednesday about the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Questions are expected to range from a security vacuum in Northern Africa to new cables suggesting that Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the September 11 assault, once proposed moving the compound to a more secure location adjacent the CIA Annex, sources tell CNN.
Congressional staffers have been shown new State Department e-mails and cables indicating that in November 2011, Stevens, concerned about the safety of the compound in Benghazi, proposed two options to the State Department, sources tell CNN. The first involved moving the compound back into a hotel. The second would move the compound to an unoccupied villa adjacent the CIA annex. CIA officials agreed with U.S. diplomatic personnel on the ground that the latter option would be safer. But the State Department rejected the idea.
The presence on the House Foreign Relations Committee of several new members and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of at least two possible GOP presidential hopefuls – Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky – has some State Department officials anticipating aggressive questions about whether the presence of Islamic extremists in Mali and Algeria were in any way related to past decisions by the Obama administration to keep U.S. combat troops out of Libya.
Most questions are expected to re-visit well-worn lines of inquiry about why requests by officials on the ground in Libya for additional security were not heeded, and faulty talking points about whether an anti-Islam video played a role in the attack that also killed three other Americans.
Other questions could involve the State Department response to the terrorist bombing of the U.S. compound in Benghazi that had occurred the previous June.
Lawmakers may also be interested in Clinton's precise whereabouts on the night of the September attack, her personal involvement in administration actions that night as well as efforts to locate Stevens, who went missing before he died.
Clinton will testify for 90 minutes before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the morning and 90 minutes before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the afternoon.
By Max Foster and Peter Wilkinson
Britain's Prince Harry has acknowledged that he killed Taliban insurgents on his latest tour of duty in Afghanistan as a crew member of an Apache attack helicopter.
Harry has been serving for four months as a co-pilot gunner (CPG) in southern Helmand province - considered a Taliban heartland - and flew on scores of missions with the trigger to rockets, missiles and a 30mm cannon at his fingertips.FULL STORY