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. Pitdownman

    Was it with a male or a female or is it don't ask don't tell?

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

    If true (infidelity) just consider the West Point Motto. HONOR, DUTY, COUNTRY. Honor comes first.

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

      Just ask President Eisenhower.

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

      The phrase "duty, honor, country" came from a farewell speech by MacArthur and "duty" came first in the speech and is displayed that way on the campus at West Point. I dont mean to be a jerk, but just wanted that out there.

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

      Apparently he was Honor (on-her).

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

    It's time to rewrite the code of military justice.

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

      It has nothing to with the UCMJ. He's not a general anymore...

      November 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • M. Khan

      Military, er, injustice, u mean

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

      Retirees are still subject to UCMJ and he is still an iconic example of what right was to look like. He personally made others resign for the same act on active duty.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      I did not know that, Dbac. Thank you for the information. However, in this case, I'm fairly certain it has more to do with his standing at the CIA.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Keith Miller

    here's the deal: He promised his wife he would by loyal and neaver cheat on her, there's not much of step to justify lying and cheating on your country. it too bad he couldn't keep his pants up, he appears to have been doing a good job, but he did the right thing in stepping down, personnaly I have no respect for a person that cheats on his wife and its hard to follow a person you don't respect

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

      So you couldn't respect Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson? They're not patriots because they couldn't keep it in their pants?

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

      'Ole Ben was a bachelor, and I believe Thomas was a widower. But you have a point- even MLK had a mistress, yet he was a true hero just the same.

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

      Excellent. Also do not forget that the GOP savoir Ron Regan did engage in adultery at least once — with Jane Wyman, the woman who would become his first wife.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dlsjfjrbdnfjf

      How is that adultery if he wasn't married at the time?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      Even Martin Luther King cheated on his wife. Many great leaders have. No great leader in the history of the world has resigned over cheating on his spouse. This is a lie. Plain and simple.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julian

      If you're in an intelligence job, like CIA, and you have done something that someone can blackmail you over, then you're a security threat and the right thing was to resign. It has nothing to do with whether you care about affairs, it has to do with the fact that someone else may have had power over him.

      Also, frankly it shows moral weakness and lapse of judgement. Not everyone cheats, and if you're willing to cheat at one thing how can you trust that he won't cheat on any other responsibilities?

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

      By having an affair, you open yourself up to blackmail and extortion. When you apply for a TS clearance, they dig up all kinds of stuff, including personal stuff, so that they know you won't be vulnerable to blackmail. The head of the CIA needs to be squeaky clean so he is a.) not open to blackmail, and b.) so he sets a similar example for all his subordinates with access to intelligence. It's a disappointment, because he's done good work, but that's the nature of his position.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis1020

      And most were not as honorable as General Petraeus who took personal responsibility for a personal faliure. I know you did not make reference to Petraeus' wife, Jay, but those on this board who have made juvenile statements about her looks should be ashamed of themselves.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pippa

      Yes. It's a LIE. That's what my gut told me upon hearing this "news"!

      November 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      if Bill Clinton did not resigns why did Petraeus

      November 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      Nobody died as a result of Clinton's affair.

      Folks died in Benghazi while General Betray-Us was having an affair.

      If Benghazi never happened, General Betray-Us would not have resigned.

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

      that is because Clinton has no soul......

      November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • usrnm

      Because it was the right thing to do. Now everybody drop it so as to not cause more pain to the guy's wife.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonhill7

      They are men of different convictions. One believes he cannot protect the country while his family is in ruins, the other believes he can lead the country while his family is in ruins.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • lewtwo

      AMEN !

      November 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • us_1776

      Bill didn't sleep with a spy.


      November 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim


      November 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • eooe

      He could of kept it a private matter between himself and his wife, gotten therapy and received forgiveness and reconciliation with his wife and still moved on with his job. Apparently, he was overwhelmed with all of it, and this is the decision he made. I still can't imagine why he wouldn't have kept it between him and his wife and patched things up with time.

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

      Why in the world should his wife be expected to forgive him?

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

      @Keith Miller: Yes, well said...and very much correct.

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

      You are both incredibly gullible and the exact reason why countermeasures like this are not only used, but are very effective.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJA

      Judge not, lest ye be judged?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • T-Bone

      The nation kept following Clinton....

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

      Cheating on your wife while reprehensible is a heck of a lot different than betraying your country.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • justmeanddog

      I agree with you but unfortunately it seems the majority of the world is unable or unwilling to make the connection between the two ideas. I think he does and that is why he resigned. Which seems to be an odd turn of events, when the individual who made the mistake judges himself to be unworthy and others do not? I think it shows his true inner character and why I would be willing to give him another chance even if he is not so willing.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael guthrie

      F.D.R, J.F.K are two of our greatest american president's , they get no respect?

      November 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Muteb T

      I totaly agree.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fiona

      @Keith Miller, with age and wisdom you may learn to accept that in some long-term marriages a don't ask don't tell policy exists. I have no idea whether this man "cheated on his wife" because I don't know either of them and don't know the status of their marriage. You don't wither. Don't judge. If he was sneaking behind his wife's back, he is a cad. But no one knows the whole story but them.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ***

      hormones (telling your body to do things it isn't supposed to be doing). its complicated (usually means financially). but it really is better to end one before you begin another one. i know lots of countries have multiple spouses, but here it harms people.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      blah blah.. marital infidelity has nothing to do with your ability to do your job. It's irrelevant unless he was doing something that compromised national security. This puritanical nonsense is being used to take down too many people these days.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Spot on. Completely agree.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrea

      Good to hear a man say so and I agree. The mere fact that she sacrificed her own life by allowing him to pursue his own career while she raised kids and whatnot. Too much of this is going on and if more of us expressed that it wasnt acceptable and shamed people for doing so, perhaps there would be less of it. In my opinion it shows weakness in a person. And shame on any woman who acts this way with a married man. She is hurting both sides of that couples family and their children. I just hope we didnt pay for her 1 year stint in Afghanistan and I hope her family feels shamed by her actions too.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Let's go Forward

      Really this is about U.S. policy in the Middle East, the ongoing “color revolutions,” and specifically the operation underway to arm al-Qaeda, the FSA in Syria, and overthrow the al-Assad regime. This extramarital affair is a stargic placed news headline which is probably part of a deal made by Petraeus to avoid testifying before a closed-door session of the Senate Intelligence Committee next week about the CIA’s role in the September 11 assault on the diplomatic facility and a CIA annex in Benghazi. Then the Ecuadorian President is accusing the CIA of funding his opposition in the 2013 elections with money procured from the sell of illegal narcotics.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eyekantspeil

      Well aren't you just a "shining example of the perfect human" with no faults of your your comments makes you poke out your chest a little bit more huh?

      November 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bronx N.Y.

      Spare me the morality here.Thing's happen & that's that.I'm a Vet & I'd follow this guy into battle any day of the week.I take it your not a Vet.

      November 11, 2012 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Cactus Jack

      Should this apply to all those in the government???

      November 12, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Martin

    Well now the Obama administration can point at Petraeus after he's gone as the scapegoat for the Benghazi incident. Obama can claim he didn"t know it was a terrorist event because Petraeus misled his administration. And the Liberal media can say they didn't fully investigate the Benghazi terrorist attack until after the election because Petraeus misled them. Meanwhile the Obama administration sacrifices a great man's careeer to protect itself. Shameful all around!!

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

      Actually, they don't have to do a thing. It was all a right-wing attempt to place blame on the President for a situation that no one understood at the time. Monday morning quarterbacking in a failed attempt to smear Obama and cause him to lose.

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

      Martin – That's some wonderful creative writing there. Why don't you wait for it to be true before you get yourself all worked up over it? You'll enjoy life much more if you don't spend all of your time looking for things to be angry about.

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

      Um, Obama already acknowledged the day after the attack that it was an act of terrorism.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe06042

      Martin – you folks lost the eletion. Can you get over it or do you need consulilng help? Hear a bus is ready to take folks like you up to Canada is you wish.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • i12bphil

      Joe06042 – We all lost the election. We just don't have the hangover yet.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinelockhart

      Petraeus is no stranger to cover-ups–Remember the Pat Tillman affair? They don't call him Betrayus for nothing. It's not about his career; it's about finding, finally, a way to remove him.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    I guess the reason for intelligent failure in Bengazi is now obvious!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RMJ

    As soon as I saw "personal reasons" in the headline banner...before the article was even published...I knew it had something to do with s e x.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. what

    Did the lover speak Russian and is now nowhere to be found?

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

      No, North Korean. The same woman who seduced Leonard Hofstadter.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alina77

    WOW!!! The Taliban couldn't take this guy down, woman did it. Well, I wold too .. 🙂

    November 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hitman

    More rats jumping the sinking ship!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Investment Advisor

    I have a feeling that there is "the rest of the story" to come. Be prepared for that other shoe.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gmenfan54

    This is what happens when you let the "little head' do the thinking for the "big head".

    November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. popcorn

    PROOF... 911 was an INSIDE JOB and CIA won't talk about it.

    1. How did WORLD TRADE CENTER 7 Fell?
    2. How come other building can't fall standing next to world trade center?

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

      Go to YOUTUBE and Watch World Trade 7 video and explain how that fell?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • i12bphil

      That has been debunked hundreds of times and jokers like you still persist. Amazing.

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

      Half of Zeitgeist the movie was good - the part about religion; but the 9-11 stuff loses me. Too far out there..

      November 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Badger00

    The issue of a connection to the Libya affair (hhm, maybe bad word choice...) or any other conspiracy aside, for those who say that an affair doesn't affect his employability, I ask, Can you compartmentalize integrity? We hold someone at this level to a higher standard and he did the right thing to resign, if it was purely his choice. Is he redeemable for higher responsibility in the future? Let's judge then.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MrApplesauce

    Even fictional spy novels know a CIA director having an affair isn't good.

    Pitiful that everyone reading this has to put politics into everything and not understand this is an issue.

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