Nov. 14 - U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak about a top military commander caught up in a scandal that has brought down CIA Director David Petraeus. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
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(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION)
The U.S. Defence Secretary publicly re-affirmed his support on Wednesday (November 14) for a top U.S. military commander implicated in a growing scandal that felled CIA Director David Petraeus.
Leon Panetta was speaking at the end of the annual Australia-U.S. Ministerial talks in Perth, known as AUSMIN.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Marine General John Allen is being investigated for 'flirtatious' communications with the woman at the centre of the case.
"No-one should leap to any conclusions here. General Allen is doing an excellent job at ISAF in leading those forces. He certainly has my continued confidence to lead our forces and to continue the fight. But his nomination has been put on hold as a prudent measure until we determine what the facts are. And we will," said Panetta.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told local media in Perth the allegations against Allen would not derail plans in Afghanistan.
"General Allen is a distinguished marine and commander who's been an important part of the NATO ISAF mission in Afghanistan," she said. "We have been in touch with our NATO ISAF allies. The course in Afghanistan is set. We know what the transition requires of us. We are proceeding with that transition and will do so on time."
The scandal complicates President Barack Obama's efforts to reorganise his national security team following his re-election.
The White House says it still has faith in Allen, but plans to transfer him to Europe, where he would head U.S. and allied forces, have been suspended.