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. IDF Soldier

    Just another slime-ball !!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. MagicBishop

    Betting this affair thing is just a cover up for his overseeing of the botched CIA mission in Bengazi.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Anthony Linton

    Extramarital affair ...big deal? Sounds to me he wanted out of the CIA job.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Stew22

    Running from the Lybia scandal of course. How convenient three days after the election to resign. This administration is so full of scandal. Too bad the mainstream media chooses not to cover it.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • WhaaT

      If you want lies and garbage go to Faux News.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stew22

      That's ok, I'm seeing plenty of liberal garbage right here on cnn.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shelly Wells

    So when does the skirt appear on Fox News?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • numbnut

      Maybe she'll hire Gloria Aldridge.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • numbnut

      I meant Alred.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mtheumer

    So people think he is resigning over Benghazi? Really? So you people think he is willing to be labeled a cheater and have his character destroyed over an issue that won't even be remembered a year from now? I think there must be a sale on tinfoil hats somewhere.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. markfromdover

    Who was the woman? A Russian spy?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Aaron

    No one is without fault. He still has my respect.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. dreamer96

    He spent too much time in Afghanistan around the pleasure houses run by Haliburton, DynCorp, KBR, and Blackwater....
    Did he say,.. Was his affair with a woman, or a man???
    Those Corporation run pleasure houses by the military bases, are like the ones run in Asia..and offer anything, and one for a price.....

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. NoTags

    Send Panetta back over to the CIA and appoint Gen. Wesley Clark to Secretary of Defense.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. what the

    Wow...that affair must have been really keeping you up at night, really weighing on your conscience huh? So bad that you told on yourself? I hope you get some more things off your chest on your way out...please do. please please please do...

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Not so intelligent

    Says a lot for our central intelligence agency. He had the perfect job for a cheater and he couldn't keep that from his wife? Tsk tsk tsk

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sale

    yaaa, I'm next

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Scott

    This seems super strange, affairs are rampant especially among powerful people in government. Why would this cause him to step down. If he admits to it how could they have used it to blackmail him? Did he sleep with a russian spy or something?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Revloc

    Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. He's out so BO can put someone more loyal to BO who will keep the lid on Benghazi. Or maybe Petraeus is quitting so he can tell us the truth.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sanchanim

      We might need to wait four years or so before that will happen but we can only hope.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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