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Lawmakers probe widening generals scandal

By Nancy Benac

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14 2012 7:22 a.m. MST

A senior U.S. official told The Associated Press that other senior U.S. officials who read the emails determined that the exchanges between Allen and Kelley were not sexually explicit or seductive but included pet names such as "sweetheart" or "dear." The official said that while much of the communication — including some from Allen to Kelley — is relatively innocuous, some could be construed as unprofessional and would cause a reasonable person to take notice.

That official and others who described the investigation requested anonymity on grounds that they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Kelley served as a sort of social ambassador for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., hosting parties for Petraeus when he was commander there from 2008-10. The friendship with the Petraeus began when they arrived in Tampa, and the Kelleys threw a welcome party at their home, a short distance from Central Command headquarters, introducing the new chief and his wife, Holly, to Tampa's elite, according to staffers who served with Petraeus.

Such friendships among senior military commanders and prominent local community leaders are common at any base.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers complained that they should have been told about the investigation earlier. Morell, who took over Petraeus' duties at the CIA, met with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and ranking Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia on Tuesday. He was expected to meet with the leaders of the House intelligence committee on Wednesday.

Asked by reporters if there was a national security breach with the Petraeus affair, Feinstein said, "I have no evidence that there was at this time." She said she expected Petraeus to testify this week or next.

The Senate Armed Services Committee planned to go ahead with Thursday's scheduled confirmation hearing on the nomination of Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is to replace Allen as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, if Allen is indeed promoted.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Petraeus should still testify about the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "if he has relevant information."

Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek, Lolita Baldor, Pete Yost, Adam Goldman, Jack Gillum, Larry Margasak, Julie Pace, Donna Cassata and Robert Burns contributed to this report. Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nbenac

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