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. Gideon

    General Petreaus is fine officer. Most man have extra marital affairs. Even most women today do the same thing anyway. Yes, it doesn't reflect well on the general, but that does not diminish his service to his country. I wish him and his family well. General Petreaus, you are the best!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nobama

    I hope all you libs who just put that Clown into the White House for 4 more years are happy. Mr. Cover Up president will be impeached and we will have Biden as President. THANKS A LOT. PUKE.

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

      You sound stupid! I guess you didnt read that story about the American soldier that massacred a village of innocent Afghans?! Had Obama responded like half you stupid fcuks wanted him to we'd be a unnecessary war! Had we gone to war you'd be complaining. Build a bridge along with the rest of the Republican party and get over it!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lisa

    If the DIRECTOR of the CIA couldn't keep an affair a secret, maybe he shouldn't be in the CIA after all. Just sayin' ...

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

      That's not funny....actually it is!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hide Behind

    The CIA is not run by the military but by State and Defense Department and too a very large degree the president is last to know what they did or are gonna do.
    This wailing about heros sounds much the same as martyrdom coming from islamics.
    That some locals got a little payback upon those who destroyed and now interfere even more in their lands is just part and parcel of the Empire Game.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ABE

      why did he do this ,? almost evrybig guy or girl docheat it is cultural things, Jfferson did clinton did the PEN State guy
      had boys in his life ,, nothing new here, ..

      November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ephraim

    They just needed an excuse........any excuse........to keep him from testifying about Benghazi. This was probably the only way to keep him off the stand. Perhaps he and his wife got cut a deal to offset the embarrassment.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lejaune

    It's no big deal to have an affair unless the lady involved is some kind of spy. So who is she?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rexdogcanadien

    Mike Mc; CNN like all other news agencies is not in the business of informing us of national/international events. Their job is generate consensus. This why they keep repeating the same story over and over again. Say it once and no one seems to care. Say it over and over and soon most of us will believe that what is being said is the truth.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Etch A. Sketch

    To the RIGHT-WING nuts still crying about the election: General Betray-Us is a Republican.

    Betray-Us undermined 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 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOHN

      hey moron...his wife also works in the obama administration, its clueless dodo heads like u who have ruined th country by electing unqualified socialist community activist to lead a Nation built on capitalism, individualism and hard working men and women.the moocher class..like u...should be ashamed...the good part is..u dont have to take down the obama poster hanging over your bed yet.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachni

      He wouldn't have had authority to authorize any cross border action, the President would have to give that order. The question is who didn't authorize that very action? He pointed straight at the WH.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Commen sense

      Right on John! Your a good man!

      November 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hmmmm

    Petraeus is a good guy, unfortunately what most of you don't realize, is military people follow a different code of conduct.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hmmmm

    by the way Petraeus in a Republican

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

    Petraeus is a republican They prey on those who claim to be christians and many of them are false prophets. Yeah, there is more to this story. Gen Petraeus responsible for Libya.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JOHN

    COWARD!!!..He is afraid to testify before congress because he knows if he had added security that the embassy asked for months before, lives would of been saved...oh and gee..his wife works for the obama administration also. Again...another poor choice by obummer and his mindless minions..just like the clueless dodo heads who put him bakc in office.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mic

    Stupid has consequences. At least he got out in front of it instead of having it drag on for months.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MrApplesauce

    This isn't a leadership issue. This isn't an honor issue.

    If you have no problem with the Head of our Intelligence service compromising his position by having an affair, then you are either incredibly naive or are ignoring it to get your partisan political point across.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sly

    Where is His birth certificate? That is the real story here. This CIA directory was involved in the coverup of the birth certificate.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
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