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. spam of the ages

    I don't think most Americans care. A few loudly conservatives do. Our European Allies don't care. The me.dia prints headlines and that makes people think that everyone else cares, but know one does. Paetrus should keep his job.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. spam of the ages

    I don't think most Americans care. A few loudly conservatives do. Our European Allies don't care. The mediamachine prints headlines and that makes people think that everyone else cares, but know one does. Paetrus should keep his job. His marriage is his own affair (no pun intended) and i don't care if he works it out with his wife or gets a divorce, i don't see how it affects his ability to do his job. Why is it that some people are obsessed with the re-productive traits of others? It's th ereligious people that do care, and they need to stop holding the rest of us back in the Dark Ages.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • army61w

      It's an issue if it can be used for blackmail etc. It's a security vulnerability.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rachel

    Oh come on! A respected officer? Give me a break! The man cheated on his wife and family, and let Americans down in the process.

    No metal of honor for THIS guy. He needs the boot!

    November 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kevin

      Your comments fit Bill Clinton just as well.....

      November 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. deneicy

    Wanna go down the Rabbit Hole? Google "Romney campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia both responsible for Benghazi attack" Then "Mormon Knot Benghazi"

    November 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. jnpa

    I don't think the reason he resigned is anybody's business!

    November 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. J e f f F r a n k (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    He admitted his guilt. Bigger balls than any of you even dream about.

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

      But not as big as the alimony is going to be.... "Ohh, it's a Holly, jolly Christmassss!"

      November 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patriot

    Gives a whole new meaning to the words ..."Holly"-jolly Christmas!.."

    November 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. borntothebreed7

    Gotta love the Republicans. They want to legislate morality to the country, while ignoring morality in their own personal lives. The party is made entirely of hypocrites.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Thinker

    But I was checking the oil level with dip-stick regularly.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. renni10

    Oh please.....Affair? Maybe, maybe not. They didn't want him testifying, or they wanted him testifying to lies, it is one or the other. MUCH more to this story.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mr. Rogers

    How does putting his sneaky willis inside some random woman make him unqualified to lead the CIA?

    November 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. sparky

    We may all be OK with the affair, but stuff like this can get you blackmailed. If a Chinese agent had found out, he could have arm-twisted Petraeus into giving information in exchange for keeping quiet.

    That is a very big deal. Furthermore, Petraeus should have known that when he started the affair. It was irresponsible of him.

    While I am not glad to see Petraeus go, at least the system is working.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. aladenn

    when communists get the power the first thing they do is they " wipe out" theirs enemies. 2 days after an election , boom ! there u go! I was born in a communist country and so this cannot fool me! god protect america!

    November 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sparky

      You do realize that Obama was already president for four years, and that nothing at all has changed since last week?

      November 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BSAlert

    This smacks of cover-up. Petraeus should still be required to testify.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. keyser

    Why should we lose such a highly qualified person because of behavior that is none of our business? Obama should not have accepted this resignation.

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

      Affair was with a reporter and could have been giving compromising information and after she ended affair he continued to send 1000's of emails in past several months – possibly putting to question whether he had focus on his rather important job. Admin did purposely wait till after election to accept resignation.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
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