If there's one good thing to come out of the sex scandal rocking the Pentagon right now, it's the potential to clean house. First it was CIA Director David Petraeus stepping down from his post in response to news that his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell had been leaked. Now General John Allen, the guy who succeeded Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has been sucked into the quagmire. Taxpayers, prepare to get mad ... really mad.
Investigators into the Petraeus affair say they've found some 30,000 pages of communications between Allen and a woman named Jill Kelley, a volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base, that span the past two years. That's some 30 pages a DAY of communications by a government official with a woman whose connection to the military is on a volunteer basis only and even that is only tangentially related to Allen's gig in Afghanistan.
It gets a bit more complicated because Kelley is the woman from Florida who the FBI has credited with bringing down the whole Petraeus affair. A friend of the Petraeus family, Kelley has now been identified as the one who reported alleged threatening emails she'd received from Broadwell. In that sense, she may have done a service to our country.
But what the heck was she doing emailing with John Allen all the time? More to the point, how did a guy who was supposed to be working for us, the taxpayers, manage an average of 30 pages of communication per day with a woman who is not a government employee? Thirty pages that have been dubbed "inappropriate," mind you.
That certainly makes you question the job Allen has been doing in Afghanistan, a job that put the lives of thousands of soldiers in his hands. It makes us wonder whether he's really fit for the job of Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, the gig Allen was supposed to be appointed to very soon.
Generally I think we're a country that gets a little too caught up in the personal lives of our public officials. I don't approve of married men (or women) carrying on extramarital affairs, but that's really their spouse's problem ... at least until the antics in the bedroom leak into the workplace. We, the taxpayers, have every right to know whether the people we are paying are doing their jobs or not. And if they are falling down on the job, we have every right to be outraged.
We don't yet know the nature of the relationship between John Allen and Jill Kelley. All we know is that Allen used to work in Tampa, where Kelley lives, and that their communications were dubbed "inappropriate." We also know that this man was being paid an ample salary by the United States government to do a job was engaging in an "inappropriate" communication, seemingly while on the clock.
Something tells me Gen. Allen won't be making commander after all.
What do you think of poking into the private lives of our public officials? Is this something the nation needs to know about?
Image via Getty/Mark Wilson