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. Observer91

    This has little to nothing to do with Bengazi people. It has to do with his affair with another woman outside of his marriage. If you've payed attention to the man, you'll know that he is a very humble and integral man as seen by everyone that has worked with him. For him to even have an affair is shocking. With that in mind, he must've had a lot of shame in this and decided personally to resign. Also, having an affair is not good if you work for the CIA let alone lead it. That may have also been a deciding factor.

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

      as good a job as this man has done for this country, his wife should give him a hall pass once a year.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike S

    All the conspiracy theorists are out today. Get a grip losers. Take it for how it is served.

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


    A CIA agent apologizing for adultery is like a cannibal apologizing for bad breath.

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

    Thank God! there was shortage of articles for FOX reporter after OBAMA victory! They must be relieved!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jimm1bobb

    I'm betting this involved a subordinate. If that's the case, that would be sufficient reason for a guy like Petraeus, who seems to have high standards, to resign.

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

      first plausable thing ive seen on here. good point.

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

      That is what the CIA guy on CNN just said too.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. woody

    Can't Bubba Clinton vouch for him and bring his numbers up like he did for Barry?

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

    Everything is a giant conspiracy with most of the knuckle heads on here. It is truly entertaining. Even more entertaining than Celebrity Apprentice!

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

      agreed. the real reason why he quit is because a giant astroid is hurdling towards us and the end is near. man that would make a bad movie. oh wait......

      November 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. maybeso

    Has Petraeus testified on Benghazi? Maybe he doesn't want to lie for current admin. Stranger things have happened. If you believe another shoe will not fall after only one-third voted to re-elect, well, maybeso. CNN will do its best to cover, whatever the reason.

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

    Good to see our bird brained Teabag friends are still OBSESSING over goofy conspiracy theories instead of looking in the mirror and reflecting on why they just got creamed in the election.

    Good luck with that, losers.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    What a stupid reason to resign from anything. What has this got to do with his job or the public?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • ResidentUSA

      David, this is why you are not over CIA.

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

      He didn't resign because of this. I am sure he wanted to lawyer up for the senate hearings.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • B4Cons

      Couldn't agree more ..... I don't condon the actions, but it's not of my frickin business ......

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

      David, what if the affair was with a Muslim woman who was seduced him to get information? Is that still madness?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RespectNo1

    Probably with a Rumba instructor.

    The most important word in the acronym CIA is "Intelligence", which one lacks when deciding to have an affair – period.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MrApplesauce

    CIA Director having an affair.

    No one understands how this cold compromise him and his job?


    November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • rker321

      You have to remember that the man was a Republican before he decided to join this Administration, and now perhaps religion have gotten the best of him. There goes another Republican and values, I sure wish he hadn't confess, not only he is trying to whine about his failings but now not happy with that, he throws his wife under the bus by ridiculing her publicly.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    Assuming this is true, this is very bad news. Gen. Petraeus is one of the best military leaders we've had in a while. He's an absolute asset to the administration. Can't believe this! But I interpret his resignation as a continuance of his desire to have integrity and a reflection of the caliber this person is. Too bad.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Maria

    Let's look at the bright side. We have one job opening now!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. johnsonj3

    @johnquepublique, this has nothing to do with President, so stop your madess.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
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