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America’s top commander in Afghanistan has also been dragged into the Petraeus affair. General John Allen, who was due to face the Senate on Thursday for confirmation in his new job as NATO commander in Europe, has been accused of using what has been described as “inappropriate language” in thousands of e-mails to Jill Kelley, a suspected rival to Paula Broadwell in the battle for the heart of former CIA boss David Petraeus.

President Obama has demanded Allen delay taking up his European appointment until the affair is resolved, at least. He will continue in his Afghan job, although his successor has been named: General Joseph Dunford, assistant commander of the Marine Corps.

The Petraeus scandal is building up steam because General Allen’s email partner in question, Jill Kelley, is also linked with harassment allegations against the ex-CIA man’s ex-lover.

David Petraeus gave up his post heading the Central Intelligence Agency, after his extramarital affair with his biographer and former military intelligence officer Paula Broadwell went public.

Jill Kelly had made a formal complaint that Broadwell harassed her by email. There have been denials that Kelly had any romantic interest, but Petraeus’s name was involved, which investigators took seriously.

The FBI last night took computers and documents from Broadwell’s North Carolina home. She was out, and her lawyers said the search for possible classified material had her consent.

A four-star general, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to head the CIA just last June. Then he gave up command of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and retired from the Army.

When he resigned last Friday, he had been due to testify at a closed-door meeting about the attack two months ago on the US consulate in Benghazi in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

The authorities want to discover whether Broadwell and Petraeus’s relationship breached national security rules.

The CIA has refuted Broadwell’s claim in a recent public appearance that the Agency had been secretly and illegally holding Libyan prisoners in the Benghazi consulate compound, and that was why it was attacked. She also claimed Petraeus knew all about it.

The FBI concluded that Broadwell did have access to classified material, including data on the Benghazi attack, but that she presented no security risk.

This was just two months before Democratic President Barack Obama faced the electoral fight of his life.

Law enforcement sources said these findings were part of a criminal investigation and not an intelligence probe, and so Congress and the White House were not told.

But, some Republicans are asking why the results of an investigation that began in the summer are only coming out now.

Others are also curious about possible Broadwell, Kelly, Petraeus links – and concerned about their top commanders’ use of email.

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