Pentagon may never release Gen. Allen emails

Can’t wait to read what was in those hundreds of emails between Gen. John Allen and Jill Kelley? Don’t hold your breath.

If history is any guide, the Defense Department inspector general (DOD IG) is unlikely to release its report into the Allen-Kelley alleged email affair to the public, the E-Ring has learned.

Here’s why. If enough people submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to see any DOD IG report, the office will post one copy for all to see on its online public “reading room” instead of sending copies individually to each solicitor. Many Pentagon reporters are waiting on pins and needles for that report to appear.

But historically the inspector general only posts the investigations the DOD IG determined to have been “substantiated.” Allen was cleared of any wrongdoing, however, so his case is considered “unsubstantiated.”

Bridget Serchak, spokeswoman for the DOD inspector general's office, said each request for records like Allen's emails is examined "to determine whether specific information in that record may be exempt from disclosure or may be released to the public."  In cases "where personal privacy interests are involved," she wrote, "…the Pentagon's own guidance "requires us to balance the public interest in disclosure of information against an individual's personal privacy interests."

Last year, there were just 10 substantiated IG reports, a source tells us. Of those 10, only three were released publicly, all of them because the DOD IG had received multiple FOIA requests. The released reports are the investigations into Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, head of the Missile Defense Agency; Africa Command’s Gen. Kip Ward; and Adm. James Stavridis, the outgoing NATO supreme allied commander.

The only way Allen’s report goes public, then, is if the general authorizes its release personally. That’s what happened in the case of Gen. Stanley McChrystal who was investigated following his resignation as Afghanistan war commander after a Rolling Stone article recounted disparaging remarks by the general and his staff about the civilian U.S. leadership.

McChrystal was cleared of any wrongdoing. Here's his DOD IG report.

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