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. Curious

    Men should stop marrying in the USA since they can't keep their pants up.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Capt. Smash

    The old mighty powerful Vigina with in a week it took out Murdock, Akin and the director of CIA.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. really

    Does anyone believe this story in any way? Seriously, timing just a coincidence?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Inky

    Let this be a lesson to all you Walmart shopping women. If you look like Holly, your husband will cheat. Let this be a warning to y'all.

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

    I don't support marriage infidelity, but since when has DC been moral? This probably isn't the real reason he is being ousted.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ajeena

    Bill Clinton had extra-marital affair , apologized and the Senate kept him. Country interest overrides such affairs. Three major issues surrounding such resignation. Benghazi incident , GOP lost bid for the White House and the heat in the middle east {Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iran and Syria ) where conflict is quite possible betweem Petraeus and Obama administration. Being a respected General , it is unfair for him and the country that he leaves office on such reason alone unless serious leaks
    occurred with such " admitted " affairs. The Ameerican Public deserve more information.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MikeS

    I feel Petraeus did the right thing - yes, it was a private matter; AND, "we the people" also have a right to hold our elected officials (and those they appoint) to a higher standard of behavior than "average" people. What would people think if he had admitted to something like...for example...smoking medical marijuana, that was legally prescribed by a pharmacy in California (or CO, or WA, or some other legal jurisdiction), during his tenure as CIA Dir.? While legal for the state, I would expect a vast majority of people to disapprove of the Director of the CIA smoking dope. And, personally, I would view the infidelity with mary jane as a greater violation than the medical mary jane.

    I presume that it was perspective like that, which drove him to resign - i.e. he believes that we deserve leaders of greater moral stature...people of a stature that he once held, and likely will reach again, but was unable to claim at this time.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Elvis

    Headline should read: 'CIA Director Resigns – Cites Pressure from Obama Administration to Cover-up Truth about Benghazi'

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

      instead he decided to claim he had an affair huh?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. resawven

    the head of cia cannot allow self to be compromised and manipulated, bad spy chief

    November 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dasea

    Robert Gates is still the secretary of defense and David Petraeus is still the Director of the CIA. Our country started doing this to defend the bosses from accusation, extortion, mental derailment etc. It's a smart move today with wikipedia and flash protests.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Raquel

    Not shocked!! A 4 previous star general says "poor judgement" was that before he knew the affair started...or when he realized, I better go now before more "character flaws" come out. What happened to "army values" oh, I'm sorry...those don't have to be followed anymore once you hold an even higher government position. Seriously, he knows all the other extra marital affairs going on too! Terrible example of a "respected" leader"

    November 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. D

    Now you can come clean and tell the truth about Bengazi!!!!

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

      the cover up seems sinister when the misdirection was solely to not embolden our enemy in pakistan.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ggi

    An extramarital affair is not a reason any more to give up his job. Who is the woman he had the affair with? Will some journalist be able to probe into who she is or will it be "undercover". Very convenient to resign after the election and before he was scheduled to testify on Benghazi.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparky15

      Resigning for an affair doesn't make sense. Martin Luther King had an affair and Clinton had more affairs than anyone and they didn't resign. My guess – He was supposed to testify and someone in the white house doesn't want those details to come out.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan

    The conspiracy kitties are starting to MEOW!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Antioch

    ... and BTW Talibans accept the responsibility..

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