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. EZE

    Would her name be Libya by any chance?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. common tater

    (1) He can't let himself be vulnerable to blackmail and (2) he has to set an example.

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

      Like Clinton – right?

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

    Can you say Mitt Romnaaaayyyy

    November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. salinesolution

    Yea don't blame the guy in charge, he's just "eye candy."

    November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Miguel

    My bet is the real reason was Benghazi and he is taking one for Obama.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • kidding right?

      sorry charlie, that talking point just isn't sticking. might want to try another one.

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

    Marcel, The resignation of has nothing to do with the Republican Party. It just displays the flaws of being human. Is that clear?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sly

    It was President Obama's fault – these Republicans were secretly working to re-elect a Democrat.

    Rumor has it that Karl Rove was secretly supporting President Obama as well, and was just a 'plant' on FOX.

    But, let's get back to the real story: "Can I see His birth certificate again? Where is the birth certificate?"

    November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • july

      Donald trumpet has it hes in Kenya asking for a rematch soccer u know!Why trum-pet didn't give any money for that(birth certificate fiasco.303 bye baby.literally crying wolf go to sleep dream bedy-bye.obama-yea,we sorry we love you okay you'll see things a get better its not his fault you loss he was better than you thats all.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    Petreus had binders. Stacks and stacks of BINDERS.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Madame Stiletto

    There is something else going on that is yet to be made public.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. whoknew

    So he steps down, yet President Clinton – the highest held office in goverment – never did???????????? Nonsense!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • RapidOne

      Still blaming Clinton 14 years later for a BJ in the whitehouse really shows how shallow and brainwashed you are. Yes, our PRESIDENT WAS GOING TO RESIGN OVER THAT. Get real... Jesus some of you people are so incredibly stupid.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Miguel

    He may be jumping ship because he sees some criminal activity in Obama's handling of Benghazai and he wants to get away as quickly as possible so he doesn't go down with Obama.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maher

    Obama started these next 4 years to start good relationship with Muslims countries. David resignation is the first hurdle that Obama wanted to clear. Mostly Americans dont understand the current condition of America but Obama do understand. Lets see another resignation !

    November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tina Fannin

    The general's sudden departure is conveniently overshadowing the news that the administration was aware that we were attacked by Iran. Just as predicted the news outlets dropped it like a hot potato.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      Wow, now that is a story.

      America and Iran have just started a major world war, but the news media decided to not cover it.

      Yes, I think you are really on to something.

      Now, back to the REAL story: "I want to see His birth certificate again. Where is His birth certificate?"

      November 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lynnmarie97

    Suddenly the General will NOT be testifying about Benghazi, this whole thing smells like some Chicago style strong arming. I suspect that the rats can run but cannot hide. This entire thing is gonna blow sky high!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • abe in phx

      Nice try...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      Except ... General Betray-Us is a Republican.

      Betray-Us undermine Obama early on. Obama did not trust him early on. But Obama put all that aside for the best of the country and promoted him to CIA director.

      Now you know why Mormon Bishop Mittens and the Republicans stopped attacking Obama over Benghazi with a month left in the campaign.

      Because it was not a cover-up by Obama ... but incompetency by one of their own Republicans.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      He is still subject to congressional subpoena. It might be a few days but I think he will have to testify.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Star98

      It is unbelievable the depths some of you are willing to dig just to have that ray of hope somehow that an elected President be impeached; thrown out of office .....somehow, damn the propriety; after all your flip flopping liar of a candidate simply could not win an election and got a whipping! Hard to come across such imbeciles anywhere else in the World!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kenny

    Guess he had to pull off a quickie affair so he could have a reason to bail out before the hammer comes down on all the Libya hearings. So I wonder who's going to break first, and admit to Congress that Obama has been lieing all along and really didn't try to help those Americans at all. I can't imagine that Hillary and the others are gonna take the fall for this... someone will leak the truth. Reelect him today... impeach him tomorrow.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • serana

      What if Benghazi was a CIA operation with the blessing of Obama? That ambassador knew too much. We know what happens to anyone who knows too much. They have to be silenced.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
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