Was General John R. Allen, who succeeded General David Petraeus as lead commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, actually sending inappropriate emails to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley? (If you still don't know who these people are, read our explainer here.)
According to the New York Times, "Conflicting portrayals of e-mails" have emerged: some of Allen's associates say he's just the type of Southern gentleman who calls women sweethearts, while other FBI officials say some of the language in his emails to Kelley was "overly flirtatious." We don't know yet. But one of the most intriguing parts of the article — and of the Petraeus scandal thus far, really — is how all these Super Important People were constantly chatting with one another at a rate that puts even the most gossipy middle schoolers to shame.
This is how the Times explains Allen's role in it all:
General Allen's connection to the scandal appears to have originated with an e-mail he received from an account that was registered under a fake name and has now been linked to Ms. Broadwell, according to a senior American official. The e-mail warned General Allen to be wary of Ms. Kelley and was vaguely threatening. Though he did not know who had written the e-mail, he was concerned and passed it on to Ms. Kelley. She then discussed it with an agent she knew at the F.B.I.'s field office in Tampa, whose cybercrime unit opened an investigation that eventually linked Ms. Broadwell to General Petraeus.
And this is how we imagine it going down via AOL Instant Messenger:
AwesomeAllen242: hiii sweetie
o0o0KellyChica0o0o: ;) hey
AwesomeAllen242: i just thought u should kno that people are talking shit about u
o0o0KellyChica0o0o: what do u mean????
AwesomeAllen242: i got this random email that said i shouldn't trust u.
AwesomeAllen242: i know :(
AwesomeAllen242: who do u think it could be?
o0o0KellyChica0o0o: i dunno will you send it to me and i'll send it to my boo at the FBI?
AwesomeAllen242: ya sure, is it that dude who sent you those hott pics?
o0o0KellyChica0o0o: LOL ;) maybe
AwesomeAllen242: LOL. kk sent!
o0o0KellyChica0o0o: thnx babe <3
AwesomeAllen242: <3 <3 <3 ur the best.
Also, apparently Kelley and Allen didn't necessarily send 20,000 to 30,000 page of documents to each other from 2010 to 2012, as previously reported. "Pentagon officials cautioned against making too much of that number," the Times says, "since some might be from e-mail chains, or brief messages printed out on a whole page."
Do you think Kelley and Allen are into email chain forwards, like the kind in which a 16 year old ghost threatens to come to your house in the middle of the night and kill you with a butcher knife if you don't pass her story on to 20 people? We're open to all theories at this point.