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. J

    @Marc L from NY: It doesn't make sense to you because you haven't educated yourself on the issue. Look at the particulars. You're welcome.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. helix10461

    He did have to resign. His personal life is no one else's business.

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

      Who cares if he had an affair? Did he do a good job? Other than that is between his wife, his mistress and him, no one else’s business. (I hope he had fun..!!)

      November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sailor101

      When you hold a Top Secret clearance you personal life is EVERYBODIES business! If a person with access to the information he had access to is having an affair, he puts himself at risk of being blackmailed into giving sensitive TS info to our enemies so yes it is other peoples business how a person with a Security Clearance conducts his personal life. Get a Clue!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lovettsville Lady

      It's not about the affair, as you said, no democrat cares about affairs (unless it's a republican having one). More will be revealed.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sly

    Ho ho ho ... a Republican has an affair and the poor losers on here are blaming President Obama for the affair.

    Well, I suppose it is possible that he had an affair with Mr. Obama, but given our President has a gorgeous wife, I kinda doubt it.

    Nope, just a simple fact that once his affair was public, his ability to lead an important agency is jeapardized.

    Don't worry nation, our President will appoint a new Director, and he'll likely be even better than the good General.

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

      I have heard those same losers blame Hurricane Sandy on Obama as well. The senseless drivel illustrates the sad state of the American unwashed masses and proves the our education system is ineffective, even at elementary school levels.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      sure, he will be replaced by the wonderful president. With someone that will NOT be the voice of reason regarding the deep cuts facing the military budget.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • true justice

      You are correct, his affair was with Obama, The Butcher of Benghazi. Do not forget Obama is the first, in the closet rump ranger President and the "little general supported G-a-y military

      November 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom masri

      I am sad and baffled. Two of my Republican friends stop talking to me because I voted for Obama.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cactus Jack

      Do you think thgat everyone who disagrees with you is a republican?

      November 12, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Penny Wright

    Why is he resigning?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • us_1776

      Because he probably had an affair with a spy.

      .

      November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Grant

    who cares what your silly uninformed, under achieving wannabe concerneds think? You barely pay attention to your own childrens home work, let alone to foreign affairs. I am certain you did not ask reagan about Lebanon,Iran Contra, or bush about 9/11, which by the way HE WAS INFORMED ABOUT IMMINENT BINLADIN ATTACK. stop the bogus posturing, you really DON'T care. Rednecks and racists seldom read.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Adalberto Cervantes Rodriguez

    With a china woman or mexican woman....

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. devonian

    hmmm.....trying to figure this one out. I guarantee it is not as simple as " I had an affair". Something fishy in denmark.

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

      If it was with somone in his command, it's a very serious offense that would lead to jail time if he weren't a 4-star general.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mtheumer

      Former General that is.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sailor101

      The correct quote is: "Something is rotten in the state of Dennmark".

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vinny

    I need to see a photo of the mistress before I make any judgements....

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cactus Jack

      Her picture has been all over CNN. Do you come here for the news or just to argue?

      November 12, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. ShawnDH

    Revloc spinned: "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."
    _________________

    Yawn. In case you haven't noticed, nobody outside of the lost and deranged folks in Teabagistan care about your goofy Benghazi conspiracy theory. Grow up.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cactus Jack

      Correction, only little halfwittedmorons are not interested in what is going on with our government.

      November 12, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. RL

    Last week secret service kills himself for the same reasons and now this guy??? Something's fishing in the White House!!! A lot of the cabinet members leaving OBAMA!!! OBAMA is definitely CURSED!!! Obama and his crew are in hot water!!! HERE YOU GOOD OBAMIE PEOPLE SEE HOW SNEAKY THEY ALL ARE!!! FAKE FROM THE TOP DOWN!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Demigod Vadik, CA

    What does extramarital affair have to do with the ability to do your job???!!!

    I don't get it???!!! Why did he quit???!!!

    I'm not a Patreaus fan, but seriously speaking, this is apples and turnips...

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • us_1776

      He had an affair with a spy.

      .

      November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobpitt

      re you sure about that? if that is true, I hope she was a good looking as the russian spy that was kickout a couple of years ago..

      November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nitrox

    Another GOP hypocrite? Really. Hmm, anyone remember John & Ted, two upstanding pillars of non-hypocrisy?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Penny Wright

    Who cares is he had an affair?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • AmyinCambridge

      Seriously... it's between him and his wife! Unless of course he had an affair with a spy.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      People in intelligence are prohibited from continuing in intelligence roles if they've been found to have an affair. It is a potential point of being able to compromise their integrity (think blackmail). The same is true for excessive debt levels (think bribery).

      November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • papa pj

      His wife?

      And all the people who expect him, in that position of making decisions on the actions of the CIA, to have personal integrity.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vumba

    wow!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sagebrush Shorty

    So why didn't Bill Clinton resign?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • because...

      because he didn't have to nor did the American public demand that he resign. You know there is no such thing as a stupid question? Except for stupid people asking stupid questions.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynne

      How about Gingrich???

      November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • dtg

      Thank you! I was just going to ask the same question!!!! LOL

      November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quebeker

      Because it wasn't Bill but the "cigare"

      November 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • mick

      The difference between the two is character, one has a little (he resigned) the other had none (denied it, lied about it, didn't resign)

      November 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      Because who gives a carp? Get back to butter churning. Straighten that bonnet!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • texcal68

      Still leaving in the past. You must be a Republican.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cactus Jack

      because...

      because he didn't have to nor did the American public demand that he resign. You know there is no such thing as a stupid question? Except for stupid people asking stupid questions. YOU FORGOT TO MENTION stupid people giving stupid answers.

      November 12, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
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