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. Elvis

    Once again, a smoke screen and lies from the Obama Admin on Libya. If Gen. Petraeus does not testify next week at Senate hearings on Benghazi, that will PROVE this is a cover-up.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • tom masri

      Benghazi attack was well planed by the steadfast Al-Qaeda and our Intel failed us miserably. I hope the truth will surface just like the un-existed WMD in Iraq.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    Pretty sure the headline should have quotes starting at the word over.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. robert

    What a setup, it could not of been planned better now he does not have to testify next week before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the fatal attack in Benghazi.

    Everyone who knows him thinks it was a setup and he WOULD be the type of person to take a sword in defense of the president.

    Congress needs to make him show up either way.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Rick

    I love how CNN deletes any anti Obama posts.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. OldJoe

    Quote:

    The retired general is extremely disappointed in himself and devastated that he's hurt his family,

    Really?
    ZIP IT UP, GENERAL!
    OOPS! Too late.

    Disappointed? Devastated?
    Gimme a break, "General".

    November 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. tom masri

    Are we at the point of the rise of the KGB era? It seems like it is as I noticed that the most reliable of the Israeli online news, Haratz, had cut its audiences only to require a fee to read its reports. America will follow suit in not time. What's a shame?

    November 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • tom masri

      I am a fiction writer who wrote the book ‘Twins in Arms’ out of being worried of what the future might hold for my U.S.A. in case Israel and the U.S. attack Iran. I hate to see the most of the well knowledgeable CIA director who knows best of what goes in Middle East to resigns for having an affair.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack

    Big News dropped on a late Friday afternoon.
    This Admin has truly gone Pro.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • CMR. Rielly

      Anyone besides the CoolAid drinkers buying this load of crap? The House and Senate should immediately sophena his ass and turn him into a star witness against Obama and Clinton.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JonTheCynicalBaptist

    and no one mentions that this guy was a clown yes man and the elected officals give him preverbial fellaccio??? All of it is a load of crap and were all a bunch of dum@ss lemmings for listening to what they tell us and not holding anyone accountable for their actions.

    We get what we deserve.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. John

    I don't think he cheated. I think he is stepping down to keep from having to testify about Behgazhi. He is not stupid..

    November 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • RF Burns

      I'll bet he did. And he is hoping to avoid testifying.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken27

      It is so obvious and childish. Fits right in with this administration

      November 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Given timing and him saying he was looking forward to testifying when he still can, but won't, this is beyond obvious. But watch the Leftists just gargle with and then swallow their koolaid. No lower iq idiots out there evidenced by their electing an idiot trying to fulfill the communist dreams of his father he chronicled, but no one on the left apparently read.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MIKE

    4 STAR RETIRED U.S. ARMY GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS – WAR VETERAN – IRAQ / AFGANISTAN – WAR on TERROR........RESIGNED as the DIRECTOR – D / CIA..........DUE to the PRESSURES in POLITICS..........DEMOCRATS / REPUBLICANS...........REGARDING the ISSUE on INTEGRITY.........that WOMAN.... in my OPINNION... is another PART of POLITICAL BLACK MAIL............to DESTROY the INTEGRITY of the WHOLE ORGANIZATION............the WAR on INTERNATIONAL TERROR is a very COMPLICATED MATTER.........the issue involves POLITICS / RELIGION / CULTURE / ECONOMICS / POVERTY / RELATIONSHIPS and etc.................GOD BLESS...............MIKE..............

    November 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. robert

    It has to be planned, look at the timing... it is after the election and now he does not have to appear in Congress.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. MH

    Extramarital affair is a security risk as long as it's kept secret. Once it's out in the open, it's not a risk anymore.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • RF Burns

      That's correct, as long as everything is disclosed.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MIKE

    4 STAR RETIRED U.S. ARMY GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS – WAR VETERAN – IRAQ / AFGANISTAN – WAR on TERROR........RESIGNED as the DIRECTOR – D / CIA..........DUE to the PRESSURES in POLITICS..........DEMOCRATS / REPUBLICANS...........REGARDING the ISSUE on INTEGRITY.........that WOMAN.... in my OPINNION... is another PART of POLITICAL BLACK MAIL............to DESTROY the INTEGRITY of the WHOLE ORGANIZATION............the WAR on INTERNATIONAL TERROR is a very COMPLICATED MATTER.........the issue involves POLITICS / RELIGION / CULTURE / ECONOMICS / POVERTY / RELATIONSHIPS and etc.................GOD BLESS...............JFK /
    MIKE..............

    November 9, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. j2011

    A lot of cospiracy theories here. My guess is the affair is the reason, and the reason it is significant is it probably started while he was on active duty. That would mean he violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice under which adultery is a crime. How can the commander in chief keep him as head of CIA while at the same time other in the military are punished every day for the same act. Secondly, wha pillow talk did he potentially have with his lover? Not something the nation needs to deal with.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ken27

      I have two words for you . . .

      Bill Clinton

      November 9, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    Why is anyone surprised? This is the Democrat elected lifestyle. Pot, free birth control, free abortion if you forget the prior free benefit,free stained blue dresses. They call it progressive, but dems are devolving our species into less than animals incapable of understanding honor or morals.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • works4me

      Yea... the Republicans are just overflowing with morality. Maybe even gushing...

      November 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
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