CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair
David Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director in September 2011.
November 9th, 2012
07:59 PM ET

CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair

Editor's note: Retired Gen. David Petraeus stepped down Friday as head of the Central Intelligence Agency - 14 months after taking the job, days after the presidential election and days before he was to testify before Congress about an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.

[Updated at 7:59 p.m.] Speaking on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," Rep. Peter King (R-New York) called Petraeus' resignation "a real loss for the country, a real loss for the CIA."

"We're going to lose the best man for the job, but again America is adaptable," said the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "Put it this way, anytime you lose a David Petraeus, the country is not as safe as it could be."
[Updated at 7:11 p.m.] The FBI investigated a tip that the woman Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair with was Paula Broadwell, who co-wrote a biography about him, a U.S. official said.

Broadwell spent a year with Petraeus in Afghanistan, interviewing him for the book "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."

CNN has not been been able to reach Broadwell for comment. It is not clear if Broadwell is the woman with whom Petraeus had admitting having an affair, leading to his resignation Friday as the head of the CIA.

[Updated at 5:43 p.m.] After getting a tip that Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair, the FBI launched an investigation to see if this relationship posed a "potential security risk," a U.S. official said. The official added there is no suggestion the FBI was probing Petraeus for any criminal wrongdoing, only because they feared he might be "in a vulnerable spot."

[Updated at 5:40 p.m.] The woman who David Petraeus had an affair with was not a member of the armed forces or the CIA, sources close to Petraeus told HLN's Kyra Phillips. The retired general is extremely disappointed in himself and devastated that he's hurt his family, the sources say.

[Updated at 4:52 p.m.] Acting CIA Director Michael Morrell will testify next week before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the fatal attack in Benghazi instead of David Petraeus, according to the office of that committee's chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

[Updated at 4:25 p.m.] U.S. Sen. John McCain extolled Petraeus as one of "America's greatest military heroes," expressing his gratitude for his "decades of work on behalf of our nation, our military and our security." McCain, an Arizona Republican and the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, added, "His inspirational leadership and his genius were directly responsible - after years of failure - for the success of the surge in Iraq."

[Updated at 3:59 p.m.] Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "I wish President Obama had not accepted this resignation, but I understand and respect the decision."

The California Democrat praised Petraeus for giving the CIA "leadership, stature, prestige and credibility both at home and abroad," calling him reliably in "command of intelligence issues" and "especially cooperative with Congress."

[Updated at 3:53 p.m.] The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee praised outgoing CIA Director David Petraeus, saying, "I regret his resignation and wish him and his family the very best."

"Gen. Petraeus is one of America's most outstanding and distinguished military leaders and a true American patriot," said Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York.

[Updated at 3:41 p.m.] David Petraeus met with President Barack Obama on Thursday, at which time the then CIA director offered his resignation, a senior administration official said. The president then formally accepted Petraeus' resignation in a phone call Friday afternoon, according to the same official.

[Updated at 3:38 p.m.] President Obama said, in a statement, that today he accepted Petraeus' resignation as CIA director.

The president added he is "completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission," now under the leadership of Acting Director Michael Morrell.

Obama lauded Petraeus for his "extraordinary service to the United States for decades," calling him "one of the outstanding general officers of his generation" and praising his work as CIA director.

The president concluded by saying, "Going forward, my thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Holly Petraeus, who has done so much to help military families through her own work. I wish them the very best in this difficult time." Holly Petraeus led the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Servicemembers Affairs.

[Updated at 3:17 p.m.] Shortly before Petraeus' resignation was announced, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that "the president thinks Gen. Petraeus has done an excellent job."

When asked about the general's job status, Carney reiterated that President Obama approves of the job done by the CIA director while adding, "I don't have personnel announcements to make from here today."

[Updated at 3:13 p.m.] Petraeus issued a statement announcing his resignation, saying, "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.

"Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation."

[Initial post, 3:08 p.m.] CIA Director David Petraeus submitted his resignation Friday to President Barack Obama, citing personal reasons, a U.S. government source said.

According to the source, Petraeus admitted to having an extramarital affair when he asked to resign.

A retired U.S. Army general who served as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, Petraeus was sworn in as the head of the CIA in September 2011.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement Friday confirming that Petraeus had turned in his resignation, saying his "decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants."

soundoff (1,559 Responses)
  1. ca2011

    Engaging in extramarital affair clearly didn't prevent him from doing a good job so far. I don't have a problem being led by someone banging broads on the side. If this is really the reason why he is resigning, they should offer him his job back.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kali

      Agreed!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      The Director of the CIA cannot have affairs – this would result in possible blackmail by foreign governments. This applies to all folks who work in Intelligence. Get it? Foreign governments would threaten to expose his affair if he didn't do a favor for some foreign government. Tha's how it works worldwide in all Intelligence agencies. You cannot have anything in your personal life that would make you succeptible to blackmail. Thus he had to resign.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • blobber

      or maybe he wanted to try and fix his 38 year marriage.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      The Director of the CIA cannot have affairs – this would result in possible blackmail by foreign governments. This applies to all folks who work in Intelligence. Get it? Foreign governments would threaten to expose his affair if he didn't do a favor for some foreign government. Tha's how it works worldwide in all Intelligence agencies. You cannot have anything in your personal life that would make you succeptible to blackmail. Thus he had to resign

      November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dumbfounded

      If you knew anything about the military you would know that having an extramarital affair is grounds for discharge. Just because you have not standards doesn't mean the military shouldn't. That might work in your marriage but the service doesn't put up with it.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • ca2011

      Those archaic standards which don't recognize the realities of modern life are perhaps the problem. Once we recognize that extramarital affairs are common today and don't affect one's ability to serve us, then we won't need standards such as this one. We could then focus our energy on upholding morally higher standards such as making sure we don't urinate on dead people or torture. I personally would prefer our military to be known as fornicators than torturers.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sting

    just watch the new movie james bond skyfall. go's with the job!!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Diamond Back Pal

    That is the lamest excuse ever for him to resign. Why would he submit his resignation right after the election ended? Just to throw that I had an affair and I need to resign. He didn't want to be part of the Obama cabinet members after Obama got re-elected.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      The Director of the CIA cannot have affairs – this would result in possible blackmail by foreign governments. This applies to all folks who work in Intelligence. Get it? Foreign governments would threaten to expose his affair if he didn't do a favor for some foreign government. Tha's how it works worldwide in all Intelligence agencies. You cannot have anything in your personal life that would make you succeptible to blackmail. Thus he had to resign...

      November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      CIA director is not a Cabinet position... moron.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hello2

    It's sad how much Obama gets away with things, and can blame others for it. I wish he did something or real truth came out for his impeachment..

    November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tania

      Haha do you even know what you're saying?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ex Para

      If you stay informed there is an Article 32 hearing underway at Bragg. A One star is charged with very serious charges. Could the Director be called as a witness.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. j

    He's the CIA Director. Maybe someone tried to blackmail him or he leaked sensitive information to his mistress. There has to more to this.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JDB

    Did someone actually say that the failure to predict 9/11 happened under Bush's watch? So uneducated and uninformed. . . . . Bush had been president for about 8 months when 9/11 happened. The planning for 9/11 occurred during the previously years, not months. . . . During the planning period for 9/11, Bill Clinton was president. Therefore, the planning of 9/11 happened under Clinton's watch, not Bush's. The execution of the 9/11 plain happened under Bush's watch, but not the planning and failing to predict. Please, when commenting about facts, get them correct. Otherwise, you look foolish.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      The terrorists and enemies of the USA are always plotting. There is no start or stop point. It's continuous.

      The Bush administration was still stuck in the 1980s ... thinking the biggest threats to the USA was from other nations.

      Bush was also fixated on getting Saddam Hussein and ignored all warnings about Al Qaeda. For Bush, Saddam Hussein was a bigger fish. Bush wanted to revenge for his Saddam's assassination attempts on his father.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • GrannieGJL

      Bush's responsibility came when his administration was warned many times over the the summer and they failed to do anything So planning may have occurred earlier in the Clinton administration, but Bush's people failed to take action when they should have.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith in SoJax

      Then lets not forget how the Repubs chided Clinton for trying to create a crisis as he launched cruise missles at the Al Queda training camps during their preoccupation with impeachment. Do you remember that FACT? Geeze, no wonder the Repubs lost so much Tuesday.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      And yet, the economy crashing was Obama's fault since he was president when the unemployment rate dropped to 10.2% It must be nice to be able to eat your cake and have it too.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. abc

    Is there any connection between him and the taiwan woman who claimed he defrauded her $30,000.

    Unbelievable CIA director engages in mail fraud.

    you can us google to search his name and taiwan woman

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Neil

    Years of incompetence and they sack him OVER THIS?!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. X

      He resigned. Please hang up and try again.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JawedButt

    Reflects his failure,how managed a powerful agency,astonishing.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sir David

    It's a shame they couldn't find someone less important to be the fall guy for the Bengazhi debacle... say Clinton or Obama. What a shame to destroy this mans career when the idiot that calls himself El Presidente sat and watched our fellow Americans die.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      The Director of the CIA cannot have affairs – this would result in possible blackmail by foreign governments. This applies to all folks who work in Intelligence. Get it? Foreign governments would threaten to expose his affair if he didn't do a favor for some foreign government. Tha's how it works worldwide in all Intelligence agencies. You cannot have anything in your personal life that would make you succeptible to blackmail. Thus he had to resign....

      November 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Etch A. Sketch

    Now you all know why Mormon Bishop Mittens and the Republicans stopped talking about Libya.

    Because their Republican General and CIA director was not doing his job to the highest standard.

    There was no cover-up by the Obama administration. The CIA was simply not on their best game under General Betray-Us.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Aaron

    Overall I don't think he should resign. However, all I can think about is how many E-5s and below he has probably ruined for the same crime. The government (DoD) needs to get over its obsession with enforcing stupid morals because it is not even close to consistent.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      The Director of the CIA cannot have affairs – this would result in possible blackmail by foreign governments. This applies to all folks who work in Intelligence. Get it? Foreign governments would threaten to expose his affair if he didn't do a favor for some foreign government. Tha's how it works worldwide in all Intelligence agencies. You cannot have anything in your personal life that would make you succeptible to blackmail. Thus he had to resign.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jun

    Gotta love the conspiracy theories coming from the right wing on here! Anything else you wanna bring up to make yourself feel smart?? He's sleeping with a Muslim Man maybe?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hitman

      How about him following in the footsteps of Bubba Clinton?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bobfromcv

    oh no, not you, david!! whatever you did, if you did it, at least you have class! thank you for your service!!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Sad, sad, sad to hear. The CIA and the military forces under his comand have been exemplary under his guidance. Big loss for our nation.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      ADULTERY is not CLASS.

      Especially if it was with a FOREIGNER while you are the head of one the top security agencies to protect the country.

      The Libya incident simply forced his General Betray-Us to this point where he had to resign in disgrace.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BillyBob

    Man, what some people will do to get out of serving a second term with Obama.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • jgrm4

      Ok I like Obama and I still think this is funny...quick get your cameras, a republican with a sense of humor...

      November 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyBob

      Thanks, it was intended as such. It would have been just as funny with Bush, Clinton, Reagan, etc.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
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