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. mandy

    I just find this hard to believe! He resigns before the Senate hearings , am I the only one that feels there is a cover up going on?? Dirty, dirty politics -_-

    November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • texcal68

      Yes, you are the only one!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      mandy, i know, right?!?

      The next thing they're going to tell us is the world isn't flat and it's more than 9,000 years old! What will they make up next?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard Marks

      Did they give the boy's name he was involved with; I am assuming it was another man.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mandy

      Ha! Texcal, you have a sense of humor. My post was infused with sarcasm, as I know undoubtedly I am not the only American who thinks a cover up is going on :)

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

      Glad someone else can read between the lines.

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

      You realize he can still testify, right?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mandy

      And the sad thing is, we will never truly know what happened. So much for 'transparency" ! The media won't even cover it, what happenend to true journalism?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • mandy

      banasy, I hope he does have the chance to testify and I hope he is truthful when and if he does :)

      November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. zisee

    As if we are that stupid to figure out that this is the way he doesn't have to testify about Libya and the Annointed One and it won't come out that the prez was nowhere to be seen. This is such a coverup of massive proportions. The poor families of the four Americans that died, sad, sad.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • barbraS

      You must write fiction, yes? Because that is soooooo made up. A prominent, married man of 37 yrs makes up that he is having an affair to protect the president in some made-up conspiracy? The defeat still stings and you're still up to your character assassination attempts. Will you never learn?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • DR. Zuess

      Too bad he couldn't resign after testifying next week. Really, how dumb do this administration think we are?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alex

    "Peaches". I think that was his nick-name at West Point, based upon the pronounciation of his name according to a specific regional accent. I don't know which accent.

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

    Lets just say his statement is true, David Petraeus is no dummie....There is more to this, then meets the eye. I'm sure it has alot to do with working for a President that lies and hides the truth from the american people and Mr Petraeus wants nothing to do with it. Its the same situation with Colon Powell and bush adminstration. You can't just walk away without some justification of hiding what really happen in Bengahzi, so the easiest way for the public to accept his resignation is a maritial affair. You can't work for government and tell the truth.....The american people would know the government is corrupted and all hell would break loose......

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

      Patricia, may I offer you some more Kool-Aid?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nadine

      Patricia,
      Take two aleve, it will be alright. General Petraeus has sin and came short and tried to cover it up. He had to come clean. We can't help that Romney has told so many lies and he claim to a christian.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sly

    Who cares? He was a Republican. The less of them in Washington the better.

    Replace this immoral man with a Democrat with integrity, and once again we will make America better.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • P-Diddy

      LOL.. he used Democrat and integrity in the same sentence.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cameron toups

    David Petraeus is running for President in 2016. you heard it here first. Stay tuned.

    Petraeus2016

    November 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. nc1965

    He's a Republican. What else should we expect?.....But pure hypocrisy.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jerry

    I am starting to think clueless Obama will never get it right. He's always choosing criminals and liars for his cabinet. And, then he trains them even further in the lying games. OMG!!! Four more years of this?! PLEASE...

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

      Jerry, more than four more years. His first term isn't over yet.

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

    For all you who may be saddened by the fact that this person just lost his job be consoled in knowing that thanks to our government, he will most likely still qualify for unemployment... however long that lasts... (-;

    November 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bing520

    Petreus is much better than our politicians.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Notsold

    This article tells us nothing. Anything the mainstream press reports about the CIA is purposely incomplete, if not totally misleading. There is absolutely much more to this story. You think the CIA wouldn't be able to keep an affair a secret? The CIA is amongst the most morally abject organizations in the history of all mankind. I highly doubt marital infidelity of their officers is something they're ultimately concerned about.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Avril

    The Director of the CIA couldn't keep an affair a SECRET??

    November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. sly

    Where is His birth certificate? I wanna see His birth certificate again. No birth certificate, again, no Presidency.

    Come on America. Where is your outrage over the biggest issue?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jerry

    Mikki, Mikki, Mikki... Don't you get it? The establishment (and quite possibly the General himself) wants this in the media. For one, it is a distraction (small, but a distraction none-the-less), and secondly (most importantly) it is like has already been posted. This is his out, his exit strategy, if you will. Smart move. Well played, General.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. BigBlue

    Of course you can say it on here. CNN didnt chicken out like Fox did with their comment section.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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