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. rosemccormickbrandon

    I don't understand why he should resign over an affair. The Presidency is the highest office and Clinton didn't resign, not even when it was found he lied about the affair(s). Why should the CIA head be different? Maybe this makes sense to an American but not to a Canadian.

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

      The difference is that Petraeus is a military man not a politician. See the military code of conduct.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ztom

    Too bad to hear about Petraeus. Seeing as I have heard him blasted by the radical right and the radical left, he must have been doing a good job.

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

      Today he was blasted by the radical middle...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ernie

    Like the guru (Jimmy B) of our times has said, "theres a woman to blame!"

    November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Brian in DC

    The guy can't catch a break, first "Betrayus" now this.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Teresa

    Maybe he did because he wanted out and maybe he did not. But I say he did not but was told to say he did. I guess retirnment was forced ay?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian in DC

      I have to agree.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jesmond

    Of all people I would expect him to know as CIA director he cannot get away with such secrets. This leads me to believe, true or not, that the timing of his resignation was considered the best move to help protect the President from the Benghazi fallout so short into his new term.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teresa

      that is the best sermon I heard so far.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ShirleyAnne

    This is just the first thing that will go wrong for Obama because of his various cheating actions before the election in order to win. the election i./e. covering up Benghazi. He did not deserve to win the election so everything will go downhill for him now but then he can spend longer than usual on the View and tell his friends about it . Why don't you have Air Force One out on Long Island today with the people that do not have power – oh so forgot election is over and the wrong man won.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ktownia

      The correct man won, SourAnne.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spock500

      If a sitting President can survive the fall-out from a massive cover-up like Iran Contra, then any President can ...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wu

    Must be somebody in CIA. It is very different to have an affair with a street girl and a subordinate.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Chris

    I will take "My mistress stole my laptop with state secrets and fled to Yemen" for $500 Alex!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 007

    He had an affair since Tuesday night?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. ktownia

    As a soldier, no less, as a leader he is honor bound to follow the code of military conduct. Engaging in an extramarital affair whether or not it is publicly known is against the code of military conduct. He had to resign even if it was not a "military post' per se.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phineas

      He's not a soldier...hasn't been since he resigned last year.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MartinG

    There is no way he resigned over an extramarital affair... Come on people, we are not that dumb, are we?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • David M

      I don't know. How dumb are you??

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Can't we all get along? We have a fiscal cliff to deal with.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Sam...have you lost ANOTHER submarine?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David

    Well, those CIA people do do a lot of 'undercover' work.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThinkDefyUnite

      Perfect

      November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain: All the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES!

      Touche!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Surrender Dorothy

    another "hero" done in. Sigh.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phineas

      How was he a hero? Did he land a plane on the Hudson, too? Did HE invent the Big Mac?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in DC

      Phin, he turned around the Iraq war. I recognize your name from AP....

      November 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      and another dic bites the dust.... I just love it when these super male jockos... get slammed because they can't keep it in their pants... I wonder how much she got to bring him down and who paid for the job?

      nothing brings down a fool better or faster than his dic...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Brian, I believe it was a combination of factors that led to any 'success' in Iraq, if you're speaking about "the surge". AP ?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kendell

    I'd love to know the REAL reason for his resignation. It obviously wasn't because of an affair. There is much more to this story.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      It is SO obvious!.... and yet you don't know why. Seems legit!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Obviously. I mean, it's so obvious that not even YOU know.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      she might be a 16 yr old intern.... with baby on board too...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Archangel

      Really?? The Soviets had the Sparrow School (Prositute School for Female Spys) and the CIA may have had an equivalent. ***Just Wondering*** Was the person he was intimate with, a spy for another country? THAT would certainly get someone's shorts in a wad and kill his credibility.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
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