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. evdebs

    So what hobby do Petraeus and McCain share?

    Adultery, apparently.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • San Juaninos

      Ah, sort of like Bill Clinton then.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Time Will Tell

    Whatever is being kept under cover will eventually come to light. Something this big will break, no matter how much people try to conceal the truth. Wait and see what I'm telling you.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Will S

      The only thing under cover is your brain...take off the tin foil hat.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jocko

    Seriously? An extra marital affair takes out the CIA director? This is DC for goodness sakes. Nobody cares. Anyhow, I guess he wont testify now about Libya. Gee, what a coincidence.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zod

      Why would that keep him from testifying?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fernando

    You tell 'em Wanda. He's the first rat off a burning ship and this ship will be sunk on January 2017.
    Go Romney – 2016!!!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nathan K

      lol no.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      you are quite right, i can confidently predict that the gop will be able to stop obama from being reelected again. no doubt about that.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eden

      Pahaha...wishful thinking. Ann Romney have emphatically stated no more campaigning or politics.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sam

    "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."

    I accept that, I think that is a fair statement. Good for him. Most other men in power or politicians would just carry on with the corrupt behaviour. Not to excuse his behaviour but good for him for manning up, so to speak.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Hello

    They are all liars..... so why the suprise?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ABE

    the Issue is when this thing is going to stop??the Abuse of Federal OFFICE, !!!he did something wrong and want out ""!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. obachan

    an extra marital affair! goodness! i think he should be water boarded, don't you?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. llatpoh

    Timing looks a bit fishy, no? Resignation right AFTER the election and BEFORE he is required to testify in Congressional hearings on Benghazi...

    Hmmm... what are the legal implications now that he has resigned? Can he still be held accountable? Does it make it easier for him to take the fifth? any legal scholars out there care to shed light on this?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • veggiedude

      Does not matter if he no longer heads the CIA. He will still be required to testify.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eden

    Sounds fishy...and since does marital status of the head of the CIA matter? Don't like how this smells.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Elvis

    I can't believe how ignorant our Government thinks we are! Gen. Petraeus set to testify before Senate Hearings next week and suddenly he resigns because were told he has had an extra-marital affair. If that is the case, probably half of Congress would have to resign. Of course CNN or other 'journalists' won't ask any probing questions to inquire if this is a cover-up for Obama's failures or to prevent the truth to come out about what happened in Benghazi.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • cedar rapids

      how does this stop him from talking?
      and would you publically admit to having an affair to cover up for someone else?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • veggiedude

      GW Bush had NINE Benghazi's but Obama has ONE and all hell breaks lose.

      Similarly, GW Bush raised the debt ceiling 19 times but Obama does it ONCE and all hell breaks loose!!!

      Why the friggin double standard? Because he is BLACK? Really?!?!!

      November 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 4bammy

    As soon as his condoning of microwaving Americans to suicide had to be registered officially, his narcolepsy must have kicked in.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Chuck

    Another soldier falls on the sword for the WH

    November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Brad76

    This doesn't add up. Who quits their job over an affair? Sounds like Mr.Patreus has a moral conscience and didn't want to go along with an immoral decision.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • cedar rapids

      and rather than quitting and saying that, he decided instead to admit to having an affair and resigning.
      brilliant.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad76

      Of course he's not going to say that.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • rohanmathur

      If you are the head of America's premier intelligence agency and you have an affair, you are putting yourself in a risky position where classified information can be compromised. Simply put, engaging in such behavior puts you at risk of being blackmailed.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • FMS87

      Doesn't add up at all. Can't wait to hear how this story develops.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ztom

      Sad to see him go. The only thing I can figure is that he didn't want politicians to start blaming his affair on Obama. Just look at the chat boards here. Hurricane? Obama's fault. Mass shooting? Obama's fault. Long lines at the checkout counter? Obama's fault.

      For some reason, no matter what the news story, some people inevitably try to tie it to "Obama and the libs".

      November 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      So the will of the majority of the people was an immoral decision? Its far more likely that some reporter called him to fact check a story about him having an affair and he quit to avoid scandal. Its likely that his decision had nothing do do with the election except in as far as he wanted to make sure to do it after the election so it did not reflect poorly on his Commander-In-Chief.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'Of course he's not going to say that.'

      why not? I would, wouldnt you?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad76

      @cedar rapids: I suppose you're right, makes sense unfortunately. :(

      November 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Debby

    Well so he cheated on his wife and he is just resigning 5 days before he has to testify. Why didn't he do it 2 weeks ago.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SoundsLiveACoverUpToMe

      He did it so that this news item would not distract from the election? Or did you forget there was an election three days ago?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      He might as well have resigned 2 weeks ago. The mainstream news would have buried the story anyway, just like Benghazi.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
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