Petraeus letter: I showed extremely poor judgment
Petraeus became CIA director in September 2011.
November 9th, 2012
03:19 PM ET

Petraeus letter: I showed extremely poor judgment

Here is the full text of a letter ex-CIA Director David Petraeus sent to colleagues after he submitted his resignation to President Obama:


Central Intelligence Agency

9 November 2012

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. 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.

As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation’s Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard. Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.

Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life’s greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing. I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.

Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.

With admiration and appreciation,

David H. Petraeus

Filed under: CIA
soundoff (342 Responses)
  1. Linda

    If he divorces his wife she will be awarded 50% of his retainer/retirement pay which is income – it is not a pension. Maybe his situation will give light to all the military retirees who are divorced and have to give up what they worked for, not what their former spouse worked for. Military retainer pay is reduced pay for reduced services. This law was passed in 1981 when former spouses were female and most did not work outside of the home. Now all are capable of supporting themselves and of course remarrying. Remarriage does not stop this award – it is for life. And all judges in all states award up to 50% of a military retiree's retainer pay NO MATTER WHAT THE CAUSE OF THE DIVORCE. It doesn't matter who did what, it is just automatically awarded as property. But, it is NOT property, it is income and is is for what the military retiree did during his/her career. Nothing the spouse did could ever equal the sacrifices the military member endured for our country. This law is a travesty of justice. The very people who put their lives on the line get screwed during a divorce. This has affected over 500,000 retirees. For more information just google USFSPA. It's time this law was repealed. If congress continues to believe that the spouse is such an integeral part of the military member's service to our country then let congress pay them for their so called service.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I am sorry you feel that way. Marriage is a sacred bond between an man and a woman. Promises made in that family unit at the time of marriage should be held dear to those who enter into it. He broke a vow to the one person who he promised to respect and provide for. His spouse deservers every penny she gets

      It says a lot about David Petraeus where he cannot honor the vow to the most important person in his life. It also says a lot about his character knowing that his affair is also against the standards of the CIA, thus forcing his resignation.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. john smith

    Were we born yesterday? We are expected to believe the head of the CIA resigns because he stepped out on his wife?! And by the way, he decides to do it only days after it becomes clear that Romney won't be the next president? One has to wonder – was he waiting for the results, and did he intend to stay if Romney had won? If so, why? I smell a rat. I just don't know where that rat is, but I'm gonna go looking.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFritz

      Actually, yes. Anyone in an intellligence position, but especially someone at the top of it, cannot be involved in any activity which subjects him or her to blackmail. It's a given if you go into this field. His cover was certainly about to be blown. Poor judgment? Not the half of it. He put his country at potential risk.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elvis

    Don't worry, there are no real journalists left at CNN to ask any probing questions. They will accept at face value that he resigned due to an affair and not the fact he was to testify next week at Senate hearings on Benghazi. American people should be outraged.

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

      I don't understand why he will be unable to testify just because he is a private citizen. He still has personal knowledge of the events in question, or at least he has just as much as he had before he resigned.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpcfoh

      They should be outraged by comments like yours. Like the other commenter said, there's nothing stopping him from testifying next week. Take the foil off your head.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ancient Texan

    HuH? Rather fake an affair and resign than to have to testify in support of Obama's Benghazi debacle?

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

      He'll still have to testify.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CJ

    I hope his 'reasoning' had to with blackmail or that his personal life has affected his ability to do his job. If not, he'd be a coward; for you would have to be a coward to say you quit a job like that over an extra-marital affair alone.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Thinker

    Who is she ? Can Hustler publish details ? Like Father, like son. His father was a sailor from Europe.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Elvis

    Shouldn't he still be required to testify at Senate hearings next week?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpcfoh

      He will be.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      Anybody that Congress wants to talk to must appear before them. Even you!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alvin

    David, was her name Benghazi? You have an appointment next week to testify. Not showing would be an even bigger show of poor judgement. We are not buying this.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john smith

    I see the Benghazi-obsessed fringe wing nuts are going to try and spin this their way. So here goes: excuse me if we don't buy into your fake outrage over the death of four Americans. Where was your outrage as thousands upon thousands of American soldiers perished in two needless, senseless, useless wars, one of which was started purely on verified lies told by your beloved Bush administration?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFritz

      Amen, Mr. Smith

      November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • yogi

      And conveniently the hypocrites never mention 9/11.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    Why was Clinton able to get away with cheating and Petraeus is forced to quit?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Prof. TX

    What does this have to do with his ability to perform effectively in managing espionage? Why does an affair make someone automatically bad at their job?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy


      November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFritz

      Geez, haven't you EVER watched a spy thriller?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cindy

    I was expecting something because I knew Benghazi was a CIA Covert operation. But this hit me out of the blue. And he was expected to run for President in 2016 on the Republican ticket. Did they discover this when they were investigating Benghazi? He is the man that briefed Ms. Rice before she appeared on that TV show.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. joan

    I'm with the others who think that he will still testify, regardless of whether he is director or not. Maybe his testimony will be a bit more damaging now... time will show. whatever it is, i just hope it's the truth. Bengazi was a tragic s\affair, and I doubt it could have been averted. with hindsight it is always easier to point fingers.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    I don't understand how a man so brilliant and accomplished, who otherwise has great integrity, can do something so obviously foolish. Petraeus having an affair is like getting an “A” in calculus but failing addition.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • betty

      you did see the picture of his wife....ditn't you?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • It's Over

      Good riddance.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • dscon

      a divorce filing woulda helped?
      what do ya think?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. funny

    he is probably doing a dude

    November 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
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