The FBI has reportedly seized a trove of data from a retired four-star general who was once in charge of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who also served as president of the Brookings Institution think tank, is reportedly a subject of a federal investigation examining whether he acted as an unregistered lobbyist for a foreign nation.
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Specifically, the accusations involve questions over whether he lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of Qatar.
People who lobby for foreign nations are required to register that activity under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
“There is substantial evidence that these FARA violations were willful,” FBI agent Babak Adib wrote in a search warrant application, according to Politico. The website notes that federal agents have seized what they believe to be “incriminating” documents.
Adib also wrote that Allen misrepresented his role and that he failed to disclose “that he was simultaneously pursuing multimillion-dollar business deals with the government of Qatar.”
Allen has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
But the Associated Press said new court filings suggest he was quietly working behind the scenes to get the U.S. government to adopt a more friendly tone toward Qatar during a multinational spat in the region.
The news agency said he traveled to Qatar to advise the government there on how to win support from the Trump administration.
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And court documents cited by Politico say he reached out to then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. In a June 9 message, he told McMaster Qatar was “asking for some help.”
More specifically, Qatar wanted the White House or State Department to call on all parties in the dispute to “act with restraint,” which happened two days later via then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson’s statement urged Gulf countries to “ease the blockade against Qatar” and asked “that there be no further escalation by the parties in the region,” according to Politico.
The FBI said in its search warrant application that Allen gave investigators a “false version of events” during a 2020 interview when he said he was trying to establish a military advisement board, according to the Washington Post.
He’s also accused of not turning over relevant emails, the search warrant application said.
A spokesperson for Allen denied any wrongdoing.
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“General Allen has done nothing improper or unlawful, has never acted as an agent of Qatar or any foreign government or principal, and has never obstructed justice,” he said in a statement cited by The Washington Post.
“Through decades of public service in combat and diplomacy, General Allen has earned an unmatched, sterling reputation for honor and integrity. We look forward to correcting the falsehoods about General Allen that have been improperly publicized in this matter.”
The Associated Press reports the 77-page search warrant application from April appears to have been released publicly by mistake.
Allen, who was placed on leave from his post at the Brookings Institution after the allegations surfaced, became the first Marine to command a theater of war in July 2011 when he was placed in charge of 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, a position he held until February 2013.
He retired shortly after, joining Brookings later that year and becoming president in 2017.
Now, he’s reportedly the subject of an investigation that has also led to several convictions.
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AP notes that Richard G. Olso a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, pleaded guilty last week, while high-end political donor Imaad Zuberi is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert.