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. mm

    The affair posed a security risk. He willingly took that risk. He should resign. We aren't paying the heads of our CIA to be that careless. Next, please.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. NUNYA

    GIVES A WHOLE NEW MEANING TO GENERAL BETRAYUS...

    November 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • deneicy

      Maybe. But not what we're being told perhaps.

      Petraeus was too tight with Romney. He was considered for VP and let things go awry in Benghazi. google" Romney campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia both responsible for Benghazi attack" Then "Benghazi Mormon Knot" and "Mormon Fingerprints Investigation"

      November 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom K. From Beverly Hills

    It's an obvious White House coverup to ensure he won't testify in the Bengazi fiasco. It's a classic Presidential shakedown–you testify and we'll tell your wife about the affair. We'll never find out what really happened now, unless Petraeous writes his own memoirs.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Tell us how many aliens they're keeping at Area 51 while you're at it.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • deneicy

      Petraeus was too tight with Romney. He was considered for VP and let things go awry in Benghazi. google" Romney campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia both responsible for Benghazi attack" Then "Benghazi Mormon Knot" and "Mormon Fingerprints Investigation"

      November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. usrnm

    Having once been a military spouse, who's miliary husband had an affair, I can tell you all of this hurts no one more than the wife and the children. Drop it. Leave it go. He resigned, as he should. The end – unless people are interested in causing the general's wife more pain.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Frank

      No we will not drop it and let it go as you would like.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Thinker

    I think, I have seen his wife. Isn't she secretary Penny Money in old James Bond movie ?

    November 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. SheilaMoorehead

    Nobody I know of is buying this b.s. story! What's the truth?!

    November 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigBearCarolina

      CIA Director David Petraeus resigned his post on Friday, confessing to having shown "extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair." And now it is said that he won't testify at the Benghazi hearings.

      There it is!

      November 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RandyKC

    I have a feeling that there may have been more than one reason he resigned.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • deneicy

      Same here. Petraeus was too tight with Romney. He was considered for VP and let things go awry in Benghazi. google" Romney campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia both responsible for Benghazi attack" Then "Benghazi Mormon Knot" and "Mormon Fingerprints Investigation"

      November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. coaster

    He did the honorable thing by resigning. If your spouse can not trust you, how can anybody else.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Nolongercare

    I give up.....nothing this administration does is ever questioned. Drones yesterday, affairs of top officials today..
    Even those on the left have to at least think the timing of this is suspect.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • deneicy

      Petraeus was too tight with Romney. He was considered for VP and let things go awry in Benghazi. google" Romney campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia both responsible for Benghazi attack" Then "Benghazi Mormon Knot" and "Mormon Fingerprints Investigation"

      November 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. M

    Thank god it was a woman, not a man.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. bad2worse

    The little head doing the thinking again. Nothing new. Hey, you guys gotny real news?

    November 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Eboni

    Please tell me this is not true...No not Petreus

    November 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • deneicy

      He was too tight with Romney & the Mormon Knot. Google Romney campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia both responsible for Benghazi attack

      November 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Oh yess. It IS him. Pity, but a cheat has no place in the CIA.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NoTags

    Before you people with the tinfoil hats get your panties in a bunch, why don't you wait for the hearings before you start making accusations. You may find out you don't know as much as you think you know about what happened in Beghazi.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RUCerious!

    If Hilary Clinton does not have to step down because of 4 deaths no one should over an affair.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thinker

      Pres. Bill Clinton did not resign.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      The big difference is that men like Petraeus have principles and recognize when they have erred. The Democrats, especially Clintons and Obama, have no shame or conscience. They failed over and over again and just try to blame someone else.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nick

    There should an inquest into this incident. If it is deemed that there was no other foul play and that the affair posed no security risk, there should be a way to bring back Petraeus into government. Maybe the upcoming reshuffle will create a vacancy for Natl. Security Advisor.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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