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. Ted O'Connor

    Good grief! 40 years of preparation, sacrifice and real blood, sweat and tears. All down the drain. The Republican's were looking hard at him for their candidate in 2016. What a shocker. This is crazy. Over a few rolls in the hay. Now she get's to write another book. This one about their "romance." And he was supposed to be the smartest guy in the Army.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. july

    America is a great country.Stop playing victim.Republicans won so much the country is in ruins.Obama said it best,Unity is the only way,Majority says move Forward...We cannot afford to keep lieing,cheating,stealing,wasting time for you tojust fight to be a republican?Who r u Morals we have as one great country we r nolonger divided by gender,race,democrats r republicans Get Out and make a difference be proud we all must be patiently awaiting something better then before.It did not work all these years,now lets move Forward.Black white rich poor middle classHispanic,young old whom ever Fight for More something Better

    November 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. july

    Hes already feeling stupid believe that he don't need anyone for that.Mistakes we make we are sometimes our own worse enemy.Give it up for human being.With all do respect sir you f-up.Step down soldier.@ez

    November 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    To: Dianne Feinstein: I guess you folks in Washington think the American public is stupid. What a cover-up with this Libya ordeal. Not even the President of the US quits his job over an affair. America counts on the House and Senate to keep the government in check, and you wish President Obama would have not accepted Petraeus' resignation?? Either right or wrong, whatever happened in Libya deserves to be answered and not covered up by having CIA Director Michael Morrell testify in Petraeus' place.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scottish Mama

    I think he has had a distinguished career, I think, who of us without a *sin*. Unless he was discussing sensitive info. and that is a no-no.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama

    She is kind of cute and working closely together, he is not a priest. I do feel for his wife, hasn' t he been married for a long time.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. USA#0

    The Chinese Xinhua news agancy has reported this fool was having an affair with DICK Cheney. It's not a woman he was having an affair with.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. highpreistess

    It's obvious that Petreaus would have to relate how Obama ordered the deaths of 4 americans in Benghazi, and also he probably ordered the General and Admiral who Obama fired, to try and save the ambassador's life, going against Obama's wishes. No he will not relate that to any committee. But I think that a Military coup is brewing in the United states. Obama should be impeached for crimes against humanity.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donnie the Lion

      Thank God Almighty Barack Obama is in charge of the USA and you are probably not in charge of anything other than an allowance.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. USA#0

    Read below and see what the US media hides from you:

    Geo World, Nov. 2,2012

    WASHINGTON: The US mission in Benghazi that came under attack by militants on September 11 was mainly a secret CIA operation, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, shedding new light on the deadly assault.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • omar

      what a lie!! all of this administration starting with the top!! and I wanted to posted in this hipocrite media news and the other ones that always cover for the regimen

      November 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • omar

      all this resignation is a cover up for Benghazi, and a cover up for the regimen, what a bunch liars ,, sad for this country.
      and i am not even born here!! but love it!! seen socialist country /government ,born and raise in one,, yeasterday the people from argentina were protesting against a communist socialist president, that takes from the farm and companys and gives it to the ones that comes illegally from bolivia,paraguay peru, much poorer countrys , now they support her for the things that they get from government, money and ruffians.

      November 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. its about time

    His mistake made his wife a victim. As CIA director, he took an oath to take care of "victims." He failed. He did not keep his promises and now the agency is tarnished and he is a horrible example for others. I would not be surprised at all if the President asked him to step down. But we will never know that for sure. Either way, if you consider the drama that he has imposed on his wife, his family, the President, and the CIA, he did the correct thing. I applaud him for ... finally ... taking responsibility for his actions.

    November 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bonzo

    wait till they drink smoke and drive......yaaaaaahooooooooo

    November 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hide Behind

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer
    Thing's fall apart, the center cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    the blood rimmed tide is loosed and everywhere
    Its hour come round at last
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned
    The best lack of conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity
    Yeats

    November 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nonsense

    Come on, have you seen the woman he had the alleged affair with and compared her with his wife....? No further comment. That would not be an issue anywhere else in the world.

    November 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      Wait, so because his wife doesn't have a model-thin figure, it's ok for him to cheat on her? WTH is wrong with you??

      November 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebowski

      FAT women who are married have let their husbands down...Woman have the responsibility to please their husbands and if you're a fat cow then don't be surprised when we get some good USDA Lean meat just like the CIA Director did..This is all caused by the FAT WIFE is she took care of herself and looked good then he wouldn't have cheated.

      She should be ashamed of her lack of caloric control!

      November 10, 2012 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jackthegeek

    They think that Americans are stupid, well others are, to believe his reason for resigning. A valid reason but not the real reason. Thrown under the bus again.

    November 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • US_DOJ_Gov

      What's his "real" reason then ??

      November 10, 2012 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. eeb

    if it was ok for Clinton.......

    November 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
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