Nightly News | November 13, 2012
>>> that has already resulted in the resignation of the cia director has tonight already grown so vast and so complicated, it deserves diagramming as we begin tonight's coverage of it. this begins with retired four-star u.s. army general david petraeus . easily the most celebrated, best known general of the modern era . he resigned on friday, admitting to an affair. he was immediately linked to paula broadwell , like petraeus , she went to west point, an academic and a veteran who wrote a biography of petraeus . we know about the affair because of jill kelley , she alerted the fbi , said she was getting anonymous harassing e-mails, turns out they were from broadwell . kelley dealt with a lot of generals both in the military and socially in tampa . overnight we learned another four- star general is involved. our current commander in afghanistan , he took over when petraeus left, marine corps general john allen . now being investigated for what officials describe as potentially inappropriate e-mails with jill kelley of tampa . both of them deny any untoward relationship. and there's one more thing, the fbi is reviewing the conduct of the first agent who investigated jill kelley 's e-mails in the first place, because he allegedly sent shirtless photos to jill kelley . in plain english , this is a mess. it's complicated, and with hearings and investigations yet to come, this can only get larger from here. we begin our reporting of the story tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom. andrea, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. tonight the white house is expressing strong support for general john allen . the top commander in afghanistan , who has strongly denied any wrongdoing. after becoming entangled in the investigation that derailed the career of david petraeus . suddenly, last night, the scandal involving two very different women, jill kelley and petraeus biographer and former mistress, paula broadwell , ensnared not only petraeus , but his successor. john allen who took over for petraeus in afghanistan . and is the president's choice to be commander of nato forces in europe. a nomination temporarily on hold.
>> for all that you have done for me and our --
>> reporter: the general is married with a sterling record. on a flight to australia monday night, aids to leon panetta disclosed a dramatic turn in the petraeus case. they uncovered what the pentagon called potentially inappropriate communications between the general and jill kelley who he and his wife got to know in tampa , and were reviewing between 20 and 30,000 pages of documents, including e-mails over two years. officials say some were flirtatious. the general strongly denies an improper relationship. the fbi discovered the e-mails during its investigation of kelley 's e-mails. sparked by her complaints about anonymous threats which turned out to be from paula broadwell . they say they found no wrongdoing by general allen , but turned the files over to the pentagon, which monday ordered its inspector general to invest gate. at the same hour, fbi agents were sweeping through paula broadwell 's north carolina home, carrying out bags and boxes of the materials. officials say she consented to the search to make sure they had not overlooked any documents before closing the investigation. meanwhile, petraeus ' predecessor at the cia said petraeus had no choice but to resign.
>> i think it's important, when you're director of the cia , with all the challenges involved in that position, that personal integrity comes first and foremost.
>> reporter: the president first learned there could be a problem with allen 's nomination to nato last friday. the same day he accepted petraeus ' resignation.
>> the president has put on hold, general allen 's nomination as supreme allied commander europe pending the investigation of general allen 's conduct by the department of defense , i.g.
>> reporter: a social link between the two four-star generals and jill kelley , who enjoyed socializing with the powerful in tampa , while doing volunteer work for military families. she also gave people the impression she had some kind of state department status, which officials say she does not. in fact, last weekend she called police complaining about media visitors, including nbc. at one point invoking diplomatic type privileges.
>> i'm an honorary consulate general . i have invioliabity. i don't know if you want to get diplomatic, protection of office as well.
>> reporter: kelley 's friendship with both generals had benefits. petraeus and allen wrote letters to the court in her twin sister 's child custody case. the agents who helped launch the investigation, eventually forced petraeus to resign. he's the subject of an ethics inquiry. after the fbi found he sent kelley pictures with his shirt off. months before the fbi was brought on to the case. the white house is backing general allen , officials say his nomination to nato could be derailed, if he can't get past the controversy of being swept up in this scandal. brian?
>> andrea mitchell starting us off from washington tonight. andrea, thanks.