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. Mark

    Google "ExposeRomney" to learn why he lost.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc L from NY

      Seriously? You can google "expose Obama" and get the same results.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • KarenFaye

      How about you "google" all the hidden lies about Barry?. Gee, won't we ALL be shocked when it's announced that yet another man of color - COLIN POWELL is put in charge of the CIA???? Another joke on the way - one of many to come with this administration.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • srm

      What the heck does that have to do with this article? This is obama's cia adviser, and it is no wonder he had a extra marital affair look at the secret service this is not a shocker.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hanna

      Dude, really? Your comment has nothing to do with this article

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

      There is a report out there the mistress is a guy and not a gal!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gomer

      his lover was oblameo

      November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Justin

    way to hurt your legacy, petraeus. i'll still think of you fondly but how will everyone else

    November 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ML

      It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It's a personal situation between him and his wife. People cheat, and no man or woman on this earth is perfect. If someone has a problem with that, it's 'their' problem, not his.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyBob

      you think of him fondling?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. us_1776

    Sounds like the wife is running the show now.

    That's what happens to bad boys.


    November 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      We should NOT care about people's private lives.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lisa

    Glad he will be gone,another republican bites the dust.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes Scott

      Conner, Red and Mark, do the three of you really mean to imply that being a good soldier and making sacrifices for the good of the country somehow imbues one with a shield against being held accountable for lapses of moral, ethical or legal responsibility?

      I salute Petraeus for doing the right thing and resigning. I do not judge him for what he did. But, I also do not just write it off because he did some good things. Apparently, you guys do, in which case your women (assuming you actually have a woman) should be looking very closely at whether or not you are being faithful to them. adultery is indefensible regardless of who or how many people do it, but ultimately it is an issue between spouses unless you are military, in which case it falls under the UCMJ. Luckily for Petraeus, this is not something he has to face.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      I don't see you picking up a rifle or some military weapon and going to battle like he did. Funny you complain about him being a Republican when Obama appointed him to the position.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew

    Sneaky dude aint he ?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. amazed

    if all the people who had extramarital affairs had to quit their jobs, the unemployment rate would be &0% or higher.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • franniemae

      for sure

      November 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • remark

      Seems pretty obvious that a secret extramarital affair is a bad idea for the head of the CIA.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hanna

      I've never had an extramarital affair. Boy, does your comment speak volumes to your character.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • pappy

      Your probably chunky chics , so dont worry

      November 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nobigdeal

    Well its not big deal – happens everyday – but being in the intelligence community, it is a liability for compromise, so he has to go. I bet they knew before the election and told him to hold off on releasing the information until afterwards..

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • sanchanim

      I have to agree. Anyone who has done a lifestyle poly, knows darn well anything, and I mean anything in your past, or present could cause reason for concern. From an intelligence perspective I can understand this.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Key word LIBYA

      November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. musings

    I guess those puns about General Petraeus being General Betray-Us were not so far off. He's probably falling on his sword for Bengazi, doncha think?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • RapidOne

      Not really - it was his responsibility in the first place, but so many conservatives want to keep the hate train going and don't stop a second to use their brains. Thanks a lot Karl Rove - creating a bunch of mindless, brainwashed hate-machines.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky


      Hate train? So wanting to know why and how 4 Americans died in Libya is keeping the hate train alive? Wow. Keep protecting your beloved President, gosh forbid he might really be in trouble now. No no 4 Americans died who cares, long live Obama. At least Nixon HAD the dignity TO resign and NO ONE died in Watergate.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pepou27

    His private life is his business. Who cares! He is a brilliant military.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • fillmein

      And you must consider Goebbels a genius. Remind us his "victories" please. You can't be talking about Iraq/Afghanistan/CIA accomplishments, can you? I missed the part where he exhibited genius, but then you think Rosh is smart, so that explains that.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marc L from NY

    Doesn't make sense. A lot of very powerful men have affairs.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Done!

      It's called "compromising position". This guy was head of the CIA, he could be extorted or blackmailed. It's a good thing he stepped down.

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

      Done, how could this be used for blackmail when he has already told everyone about it?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      A lot of powerful men do not have to answer as to WHY 4 Americans died in a terrorist attack that was blamed on a video, and all covered up.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BigDeal

    who cares, he's doing a good job.. .. NOW the WH wants to have standards????

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Magicman

    Hard to be a man, baby!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Phineas

    Okay, I get that blackmail is always a concern at CIA, if this is out in the open, why would it matter? Is it merely because the CIA can't expect fidelity from its operators if the guy at the top has done otherwise?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Because he knew damn well an affair could put him in a compromising position, yet he had one anyway and covered it up. It shows that he can't be trusted in the future.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. josh rogen


    November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Yeah keep saying Benghazi, maybe the right will lose in 2016 too.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • John W.

      And to you: "Iraq."

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

      someone bust up and throw away that broken record...

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

      see you later General ... your a disgrace and a lifetime of good deeds will not wash this away.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. single mom

    If he had an affair, why not resign immediately? Oh, yeah! There was an election. I'm not buying this one bit. The Intel Community has all ready been thrown under the bus by this administration. And the CIA was up to its eyeballs in the Benghazi attack. General, please, for the honor of the men who died and the sakes of their families, please, step up and tell the truth about who knew what and when and what they did.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • What?

      He needs to leave something for his upcoming book...

      November 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      It's funny how you types try to politicize the Benghazi tragedy, but you were absolutely no where to be found when were neck deep in the Iraqi quagmire. Mind you it was war that cost us thousands of lives and billions in dollars. Icing on the cake, lies lead us into that f*king war!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • kenny

      here's a what if, he was so distracted by hot tang that he made a bad call about benghazi ... but of course your world view sees everything left as bad and right as good... so sad...

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

      Moon, Billy, Norm, et al.,
      Get a grip, guys. It is regrettable–I admired both General and Mrs. Petraeus. But affairs happen all the time, especially in a pressure cooker environment. But if you really think that Obama plotted the event and the timing, I have a homework assignment for you. Look up the following terms: paranoid, delusional, irrational, improbable...

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

      Please stop reading spy novels. It's just not there.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • numbnut

      Kenny, you might be on to something.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldJoe


      If he had an affair, why not resign immediately?

      'cause the news was not out.

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