Panetta Warns Against
Early Conclusions in General John Allen Case
November 14, 2012
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is cautioning against early
conclusions in the case of U.S. commander in Afghanistan General John
Allen, who is under investigation for allegedly having inappropriate
communication with a woman linked to the David Petraeus sex scandal.
Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came to the Australian
coastal city of Perth to boost a longstanding alliance. The two reached
new agreements with Australian officials on space cooperation and held
discussions on the rotation of hundreds of U.S. Marines to Australia.
Much of the focus at a joint news conference Wednesday, though, was on
the case of General John Allen, who is under investigation for possibly
inappropriate communication with Jill Kelley, a woman linked to the sex
scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus.
Addressing the issue
Responding to a reporters' question, Panetta made his first remarks
about the case since announcing the investigation of the commander of
the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
“No one should leap to any conclusions here. General Allen is doing an
excellent job at ISAF in leading those forces," said Panetta. "He
certainly has my continued confidence to lead our forces and to continue
the fight. But his nomination has been put on hold as a prudent measure
until we determine what the facts are.”
Clinton declined to comment on the case, but she commended Allen's
record. She said there has been conversation about the allegations, but
suggested the case has not affected the allied forces' mission in
U.S. giving Syria more humanitarian aid
Clinton announced the United States is providing $30 million in
additional humanitarian aid to Syrians affected by the fighting there,
bringing the total to $200 million. She praised the recent formation of
a new Syrian opposition coalition against the government of Bashar al-Assad,
saying the Obama administration has long called for this kind of
“We will be prepared to work with them to deliver assistance to the
Syrian people," said Clinton. "So, [it is a] good beginning, highly
welcomed by us and others, and we want to see the steps taken that have
been promised. And we stand ready to assist this new opposition in
standing itself up and representing the Syrian people to the regime and
the international community.”
Clinton stopped short of recognizing the coalition as the sole
representative of the Syrian people, as France did earlier this week.
U.S., Australia bolster alliance
and Australian officials reached an agreement Wednesday to place a radar
in Australia to track space debris, and said talks are under way for an
advanced U.S. space surveillance telescope on Australian territory.
They also discussed the recent rotation of U.S. Air Force personnel and
250 U.S. Marines to northern Australia and said the exercise will be
repeated next year. The United States hopes to eventually increase the
Marines' rotation to 2,500 troops.
The moves are part of the United States' new defense strategy, which
calls for a rebalance of forces to the Asia-Pacific region.
Both Clinton and Panetta head to southeast Asia next and will attend a
meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.
President Obama is scheduled to be in the region next week.