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. DoctorWeird

    Wow, does this mean President Bill Clinton has to resign now as well?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anne

    He didn't know about his affair last week? Why after the election? The saga of cover-ups continues

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

      Conspiracy around every corner , eh?

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


      November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ulvskog

      Having been relieved of my own post as an Army Civilian due to a severe psychotic episode, I sympathize deeply with the General if his many years of service have led to any type of brain illness that may be impairing his judgement? He did the absolutely moral and correct thing in this situation and now he will take the consequences like a man. I hope to learn more about the situation before I condemn anyone for any type of moral lapse. We need much more information about what happened and when.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • numbnut

      The same reason why sports teams don't hire a new coach just before the "big game"...distraction.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      why would he know of the affair if he wasnt told? trying to figure out why you have trouble accepting that idea.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. klnm

    The last line says "[his]decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants." How can he be respected when he cant be content with his own wife and to think I admired this man for his work ethic. Another person in the eye of the public to fall into societies views of the rich and powerful, when will somebody rise to overcome the stereotype.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ulvskog

    General Petraeus, or as I will always think of him "General Whatsisname" (see the Kipling Poem) is a brilliant man and a heroic leader of men who has saved us from multiple military debacles forced on us by idiot civilians. His decision to resign after conducting an affair just affirms his high moral character in an age when powerful men can get away with anything and the President of the United States can assassinate foreign nationals at will using robotic drones. There will be a great deal of mud thrown at this genuine American hero for an obvious lapse but he has done what any of us would do when we find our judgement is severely impaired. Good luck sir. Please don't do anything you might regret until such time as the media circus has blown over.

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

      moral character? Come on ,grow up.

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

      "What we can't do here, is embarass the President." Imagine what would have happened had this story leaked? The General came clean and took the bullet as soon as he could after the election. I don't care who you are, you screw up, you take the clean and easy way out and you don't embarass the Commander and Chief.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • crazy media

      His "high moral character". Did you not read why he is resigning?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • fearlessdude

      Petraeus was probably setup just like Clinton was setup by the jdl.

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

      And does one's moral character simply disappear after making one serious mistake? The true measure of one's character and morals is shown in what one does after making a mistake, not in being some idealized perfect plaster statue as expected by you American idiots in this place. People like you miscreants shouldn't throw stones. Instead, I say thank you to General Thomas Atkins and I will reserve judgement.

      "Single men in barracks don't grow into plaster saints" Rudyard Kipling.. "Tommy"

      November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ShawnDH

    bilbo cried: "Can you say.....Libya"

    Libya. Not that it has to do with anything...but keep trying, dummy.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. resawven


    He went out with a bang!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lagunatic

    Chasin tail instead of winnin war?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill D.

    Bill Clinton did the same thing, he didn't resign.

    Hope his wife gives him the boot.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Veritas Lavinga

    Benghazi, Libya is going to ruin this administration. So much scandal and lies cannot hold up in a court of Truth.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CABO

    I guess the republicans have their canidate for 2016.

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

    Who Believes this????? Give me a break, 3 days after the President is re-elected, Obviously their is far more to this than an affair. He does not agree with Obama....Period. The amercian people are not that stupid to believe this crap.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Clinton

      Patreus was messing around while Libya was under siege
      Obama was heading to Vegas for a fund raiser while Libya was under siege

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      Haters have to hate.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      I believe there is more to this to the tune of, he needed to resign, but his boss (the president) told him to wait until after the election so it didn't look bad when people went to the polls. Not the other way that people are painting it that this is in response, either by petreus or obama, to the president being reelected.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • kilowat23

      Wow, you guys and your conspiracy theories.

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

      Your poor minded is what wrong with the republican supporter.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • lagunatic

      Their? Incomplete education?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caleones

      Yes, because I'm sure you would much rather say that you cheated on your wife rather than you disagree with someone. I would rather have an angry President than an angry wife.

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

      yeah fortunately you and all your friends have cornered the market on stupid for sure. All you bunch of conspiracy theorist go kiss your Donald Trump rings and take a nap!!!!!!!!!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • lagunatic

      well said Frank.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      "He does not agree with Obama....Period."

      then why not resign and say its because you disagree with the president? why claim you cheated on your wife instead?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill Clinton

    Another one bites the dust

    November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jarhead48

    Will we ever really know the truth about Benghazi? We can strongly infer. However, would like to see prima facia evidence.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Tillery

      Exactly what do you want to know? It was a terrorist attack against the United States just as there have been others before. Are you (or your leaders at Fox) inferring that the President or someone in his administration knew this was going to happen beforehand and did nothing? That is preosterous! While I am no fan of Fox News (?), I do watch it along with the other commentary/news programs and during the last days of the election, all Fox commentators (not journalists) were talking about is what happend in Libya that night.

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

      He wants to know how he can make it fit his agenda of hating Obama. Nothing more really.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ShawnDH

    Bob whined: "I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with Benghazi!"

    I'm sure it doesn't either...and nobody outside of Teabagistan cares about your desperate and goofy conspiracy theory. Get a life, loser.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nancy

    I agree. He should not resign. Pres. should have refused to take his resignation.

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

      No, Wanda. The losers are: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party. I am sorry if it's confusing.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      he says he made a poor judgement; terrorists are still roaming free in Pakistan, I wonder if it was thanks to his poor judgements!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • He opened himself up to blackmail and extortion

      He was a threat to National Security.

      He shouldn't have been allowed to resign – he should have been FIRED.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Totally – I think everyone is missing that point.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • joilpem

      He should have been fired and never hired for CIA after the Tillman incident.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler Durden


      November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      he will take is multi million $ retirement check and run.....

      November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • TownC

      Just like President Clinton!

      November 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      and that would just be fodder for the repubs......obama is so lacking in morals that he allows confessed adulterers to stay in their jobs......typical libs etc etc etc.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynnmarie97

      The General stayed in his job until the known affair was needed to use as leverage. It's called Chicago style politics. Hold what ya know in your back pocket and then BOOM release it as soon as it is needed to protect the Boss. Suddenly the General will NOT be testifying about Benghazi.....You do the math.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      Except .. General Betray-Us is a Republican.

      Betray-Us undermined Obama early on. Obama did not trust him early on. But Obama put all that aside for the best of the country and promoted him to CIA director.

      Now you know why Mormon Bishop Mittens and the Republicans stopped attacking Obama over Benghazi with a month left in the campaign.

      Because it was not a cover-up by Obama .. but incompetency by one of their own Republicans.

      So it would have been fodder for the Democrats to throw back at the Republicans.

      But like Obama stated: We don't play politics with national security.

      That is why Mormon Bishop Mittens failed to become President.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark2789

      That was simply stupid, prejudiced and typical Republican rant.

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

      Can you say cover up? C O V E R U P..

      November 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • july

      Can u say E-X-P-O-S-E-D to the world im a cheater that's all!Bye Folks!!!!!!this is serious business.Im fired if i dont resign.BELIEVE IT!Great job,nicely back away.Rules,Next!

      November 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      Except ... General Betray-Us is in charge of the CIA which was in charge of the Benghazi incident ...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • texcal68

      No, the sinking ship was the Romney. The President won the election with 332 electoral votes.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      Except ... Benghazi happened.

      If Benghazi never happened ... General Betray-Us would never have admitted to it.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1way3639

      Strange that Feinstein just said he wouldn't be required to testify on the Benghazi incident. Good timing, you think?

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

      Really? What have you done for your country lately? Oh, that's right, nothing.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • MajorRumpRoaster

      Ye' best be walkin' the plank matey! YARR!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • You

      I'm pretty sure the Prez is the one who forced him to resign to get one of his illegal CZARS in that position. Look at the timing. Look at the power of that position. Nope, this is the beginning of the downfall of America, courtesy of the Prez!

      November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      I don't think he should have had to resign. After all we can have gays, lesbians in service, then too how about what President Clinton did while in office & nothing was done to him. I don't think this is fair! Lots of Presidents have had affairs and nothing was done to them, they stayed in office!

      November 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      You can't refuse to take someone's resignation.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      My cousin works for diplomatic security. His job is to watch for American's spying on Americans. The top two reasons he says people turn into spies is because of #1 Money and #2 because they are bribed because of their affairs.

      It's not that difficult to put two and two together on this deal, people. An affair seems so harmless to those without morals, but even if you don't have morals, you should see the obvious risk to national security because someone is doing whatever it takes to hide their secret!

      November 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • RF Burns

      Are you nuts?

      November 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • pntkl

      I'd be okay with reassignment. Trust in an intel leader is nothing to doubt.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh rogen

      why was the waffle house story circulated the same day? a distraction?

      November 10, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Montezuma

      Actually, adultery is a big time flag where the intelligence community is concerned. It posed a possible black-mailing threat. He should have known better.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
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