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. Dbac

    He was one of my most respected personalities. Hurts to see a hero fall.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Birchwood

    A rare man to admit as such, he should be praised for assessing the situation, and acting as he did....... He is a human being as we all are.................. When matters calm down a bit he is a man who would do well as Secretary of State...

    November 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. PED

    You run the CIA and you can't have an undercover affair ?

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

      Irony can be so...

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SeaAngel1991

    Bill Clinton was part of the Chain of Command. Just follow the leader.

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

      Bill who ?

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

      Very nice pilgrim!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jamie

    This may have been said. He holds a Top Secret clearance. If he didn't want anyone to find out about the affair the enemy could use that against him to force him to start handing over secrets. I wonder how long ago the affair was? He probably couldn't pass his next lifestyle polygraph because of this and decided to resign before agents start digging into this affair after it was revealed during the poly test. He may have some USMJ action against him as well, but that depends on if they want to take that action.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Jamie: You wrote that Petraeus might have some USMJ action. USMJ? Do you mean the UCMJ - the Uniform Code of Military Justice? That only applies to active military personnel, not retirees.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeaux Bleaus

      "He holds a Top Secret clearance. If he didn't want anyone to find out about the affair the enemy could use that against him to force him to start handing over secrets."

      Wow...then it would REALLY be risky if someone like the President were to ever have an affair. I'm glad that's never happened!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Balls McGhee

    who cares? it has nothing to do with his job. if Lebron james cheated on his wife, would you expect him to resign from the Heat? c'mon. however, this makes me believe he cheated on his wife with someone within the military or CIA...that would be bad...

    November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. MrApplesauce

    People here really don't understand the concept of Intelligence services, national secrets and compromising yourself.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Alyssa

    How convienant.... Just before he was supposed to testify on Benghazi...

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

      I think you meant to post of the Fox News boards. Unfortunatly, Fox does not believe in free speech and does anything they can from preventing the truth from ruining their conspiracy theories and hate campaigns. BE AFRAID. BE VERY AFRAID.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mo

    This is such a shame! Something doesn't quite sound right. Now I'm wondering if he, like the SSA that killed himself, was having an affair with a foreign citizen as well?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. reader10

    Just like to know how many women working for the government are having affairs.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Andrea

    I am sorry, buy I am not surprised. She looks awful. He should have never married her in the first place. Since he did, he should resign since he promised her to be loyal.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. MN

    Because of the Benghazi, Lybia tragedy, Obama should be impeached! This is worse than Watergate during Nixon.
    Four American Citizens were killed and the White House did nothing to prevent it......an impeachable offense!!

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

      Please get new parts for your head.

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

    Why did he resign? Geeze, half the married people in this country have affairs. What makes him so special?

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

      He demands that those who serve him stay faithful.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reed

    Sounds a little fishy timing to me...can you say Benghazi?

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

      You could, but only people who watch Fox news would care. Nobody else believes in the giant consipiracy theory.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Kind of like two or more people having the same birthday, huh?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil from Dallas

      Stop looking for a conspiracy behind every tree idiot.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • caff484

      Id leave too if i was responsible for Benghazi. BS that he has to blame the lack of control of his own tallywacker

      November 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Ok, so he's faking the affair and humiliating his wife . . . why exactly?

      Amazon is having a sale on tin foil hats, today. Better get right over there...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victoria

      If any of you would actually take time to watch some of the hearings from the House's Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Benghazi attacks, you would realize that there really is something going on.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nathan

    Its womens fault...........if that stuff wasnt so good; we would not want them.....

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

      How good?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
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