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. helix10461

    I am dating 5 girls right now (but I am not married). I am glad I don't work for CIA.

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

      Sure you are, internet pimp.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. popcorn

    Hey CIA.... Was 911 an INSIDE JOB? Can you explain how world trade center 7 fell? This leaves generation speechless about law of physics.

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

      So says the noted anonymous physicist.

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

    Bill Clinton, this is what taking responsibility for your actions looks like.

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

      Talk about old news...

      November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. marcie aguilar

    The country loses again. It was personal and it should not force his resignation.

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

      Guess again. People in teh intelligence community cannot engage in activities like this due to the sensitive nature of their work. Think about it for a minute.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sam

    Is the affair "classified?"

    November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. UncleSam42

    No need to resign just because he had an affair. It's a real shame that we're losing one of the great leaders of our time.

    Leaders in Europe must just shake their heads in disbelief.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MrApplesauce

    Republicans talk about honor all the time.. when someone tries to follow his sense of honor, they stop believing in honor and call it politics.


    November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jas495

    I agree with Ben and Robert, Clinton got away with everything and now we have him on a pedistal for God's sake! His private life should be private, I dont think he should have resigned.

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

    No faster way to the bottom.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anchorite

    It's really all about Libya? Hmm, we successfully helped overthrow a longtime brutal dictator and made sure the right guys came out on top. Under Bush, our CIA failed to predict 9/11, and 3000 civilians were killed, but the director of central intelligence didn't resign, he asked for a raise. Somehow I don't think Libya is keeping Petraeus up at night.

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

      No but his mistress was I bet! HEYOOOOO!!!!!

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

      The 'right guys' who came out on top are the ones who actually control Libya – not the toothless not in control 'official' government. That is, the same people who attacked our embassy. The same ones who have essentially taken over half of Mali and are establishing what amounts to an absolute fundamentalist state there. And so on and so on. Bottom line it takes a bold person to assert that the new Libya is better than the old, it may even be worse.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mr. X

    Betrayus? More like Betrayher now.

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

      i am not saying what he did wansnt wrong but what does cheating on your wife have to do with being head of the cia? same bs with clinton. bj's shouldnt bring the government to a hault at the cost of taxpayers.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. X

      I'll agree with that, but I think it's really a matter of integrity rather than competence.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sally Stanley

    I don't get it - he had an affair, it's "out", why resign? Opponents can no longer use the illicit extra-marital affair information to compromise Petraeus. I get resigning to keep something quiet, potential blackmail information, but it's out now so what's the point? I think something else is going on here. Who or what was the affair with??????

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

      It could be because of his sense of honor.

      It could be because having an affair makes you compromised as the CIA leader.

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

      Uh, because for some time, possibly a long time, he compromised national security in the first place. You can't just do that then 'fess up and everything is just fine.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RedNecksWidow

    Why resign half of washington has affairs. He has done a great job for this country.

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


      November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Helen

    I really don't see why he had to resign. Of course what he did to his wife and family is terrible, but how does that affect his job again?

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

      Sigh,... becuase he is CIA. It compromises his position as someone who has access to extremely classified info. Think about it. This is not a regular job.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ashish

    Why did he need to resign ? its high time America wake up. A persons ability to performa duty can not be judged by his personal life. talent is talent it can not be wasted for such unrelated reasons. This is like, I can not buy a car because my name starts with alphabet A. So ?

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

      Wolf Blitzer explained on CNN just now that in the intelligence community, having an affair is a career ender becuase of the possibility of compromising secret information, etc. This is not a regular job.

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