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. Ellen

    huh, a guy who has an extra marital affair but is against gays marrying. those straight people just can't keep it in their pants!

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

      How do you know he was having an affair with a woman?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • pappy

      Dont worry skirt, no man wants a gay chubby

      November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mike

    Couldn't resist those hot CIA groupies.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jomm

    OK. He is only doing what 90% of people are doing nowaday. YEs, is wrong but is not uncommon. If people lose their jobs over this, alot of people will lose their jobs.

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


      90% of people are doing nowaday

      Are you serious?
      Even if it were true, would that make it right?

      "But but but... DAD! EVERYONE'S DOING IT!"

      November 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ben

    How does his infidelity make him unemployable at the C I A? If Mr Clinton can screw around in the oval office and stay at the job why can't he do the same? What nationality is she? Is there a threat to the country or just the sheets?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Done!

      The possibility of extortion and blackmail make him unemployable by the CIA

      November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      Now that he admitted to it openly there wouldn't be an opportunity for blackmail, now would there? I agree it is a sign of weakness to cheat but to resign? Come on... I say it's all nanja.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • CammieB

      Maybe she's pregnant..

      November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • tradingdaze

      By leaving now he does not have to testify at next weeks hearings. He could have stayed on another week so the world would know what he had to say on the subject. Perhaps he's falling on his sword like a good soldier very similar to Colin Powel.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Robert

    The President should've rejected his resignation and told the man to get family counseling and then go back to work.

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

      AMEN Robert

      November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • kenny

      i wanna see how hotttt this person is cause if she's even close to a 9 or 10 the Director OF Intel got PLAYED by some foreign spies... russians, chinese.. etc

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

      Such a wonder moral man, all set to run for the GOP in 2016 on the "family values" platform.....I for one am completely shocked.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tony

    a likely story....sounds fishy to me

    November 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • John W.

      Of course it does. To you, and all your fellow internet-dwelling paranoid schizophrenics, too.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tapia

    Wow...there was talk of him running for President at some point – war hero and now to have to step down...just goes to show you...what you see on the outside is seldom what's in the inside.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dede

    Wow, these guys in the white house are good. Gotta get rid of him because of Libya so unearth the extra marital affair.

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

      very valid point

      November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    respected? for some reason, all I can recall hearing about him is sub-par performance in Iraq, followed by sub-par performance in Afghanistan, followed by sub-par performance in his marriage.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ken

    He lied to the President about Benghazi, and lies to his wife about this. That's David Betrayus!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dennis

    What a disappointment. I know we all are not perfect but it's disappointing to me ...

    November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. duckforcover

    He's not much of a spy if he can't even pull off an affair!

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

      Duck, that was funny. On the English TV show "Spokes" they were encouraged to keep these affairs in-house to avoid chance of blackmail.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. connor

    why did he have to step down. this guy is a military genius and this is a terrible loss to our national defense.

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

      This dude is pure Gutter Trash. Where do you come from?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • rjo3491

      Affairs can put, "spies" in very compromising positions. He had to go.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred M.

      Because America was settled by Puritans rather than being conquered by Vikings.

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

      If you dont know why the director of the CIA cant have dont know much about the CIA. An honorable man did wrong and is taking personal responsibility for his actions. I thank him and wish him well. you repubs are a are most mentally ill people.

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

    We are losing a great leader. I'm very sorry to see him leave.

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

      a great leader?

      Viagra? Cialis?

      But hey,
      Birds do it, bees do it, dogs do it, sounds like a lot of the people posting here do it

      November 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Demon71

    You would think if anyone could keep a secret it would be him.

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