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. Anchorite

    Can you "Benghazi" and "Libya" tin foil hat cases tell me how NOT taking responsibility for...whatever failure it is you think happened there, and then resigning, somehow protects Obama?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • salinesolution

      I don't think he was trying to protect anyone. Just trying to get the fluck out of dodge before shEet hits the fan.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Tin foil hat cases? Maybe you should ask to borrow one. You honestly think there has been that incredible 'transparency' we all are continually being told about? With live streaming videos and witness accounts – you think it should take more than 2 months to find out what actually happened before, during and after the attack. Even in some of the news articles today about the maker of the movie – it is still being 'pushed' by some in the media that it spurred attacks in Libya...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mofo

    This gargoyle had a woman touch him?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Truth

    I guess someone final asked the question that Admiral Lyons asked. Who funded the movie?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ExtortionBegins

    And now the Extortion Begins. I believe very little of this. The timing is obviously suspect. And now many good people, including any and all Republican Senators and Congressmen, will be coerced into complying with Obama's leftist agenda to destroy any and all good Americans. It was my first prediction on Tuesday night that many would fall victim to Obama, including more of what we saw happen in Libya. Reid has already threatened the House to do what they want or else. Each and every time a Republican is forced to compromise their good judgement and vote or support one of Obama's plans to preserve whatever remnants of America we have left, they must not use the word "compromise" but admit what it is – extortion. If America can survive the next four years is very questionable. All we can say is – our prayers.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Insert coo-coo clock noise here ^ ^ ^

      November 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeaux Bleaus

      Insert naive denial here...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • fillmein

      "remnants" of America? You blame the left and/or democrats for the raiding and looting of epic proportions that has hit the US? You must really love your toys to advocate for the rich, multinationals that are partners with the republicans in this country in that financial rampage we ALL witnessed.
      Get your morality back and quit with the red/white/blue which you do not represent. You speak for the greed.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fillmein

    I wonder if I might pose this question. Why do we hold these people in such high esteem when, for my part, I see a trail of failures. Iraq? Afghanistan? CIA intel? Someone point me to success, please. I consider more important the trail of dead in his wake and our continuing lack of knowledge/intel of how the world works, in particular the Arab world.
    Doesn't it behoove Americans to START holding people responsible? That IS our job, isn't it?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chellis

    What a POS, he should be prosecuted for Adultery. What absolute unbecoming conduct of a person in his position. I too am a Army Officer and I have lost all respect for this man.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    At least he went out with a "Bang"

    November 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hitman

      Will we get to see the dress that she wore in the Enquirer?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. eric

    How could Obama let him have this affair? We know it is his fault! Everything is his fault!

    Republicans Against Everything

    November 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeaux Bleaus

      Dearest Leader Obama is never responsible for anything except peace, love, and free stuff for everyone. Forever and ever, amen.

      The Sycophantic Obama Love Choir

      November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Henry Allen

    Henry Kissinger, during a visit with Mao Tse Tung in China with Nixon, told Mao that power was the greatest aphrodesiac. Mao agreed. They both enjoyed beautiful young women. But, nobody in China was going to ask Mao to resign, and Henry at least had the good sense not to be married.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jake

    Affair was with a married gayboy hence the resignation – watch this space

    November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hitman

      Don't ask, don't tell!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Etch A. Sketch

    Now you all know why Mormon Bishop Mittens and the Republicans stopped talking about Libya.

    Because their Republican General and CIA director was not doing his job to the highest standard.

    There was no cover-up by the Obama administration.

    The CIA was simply not on their best game under General Betray-Us.

    His adultery clouded and compromised his leadership of the CIA.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. THORN

    I saw real life CIA POSTER on JOHN JAY COLLEGE

    They hired the BEST AND BRIGHTEST....

    November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    Would someone please tell CNN's anchor that the word "eke" means to increase or enlarge. More information may dribble out or leak out or come out in the future, but it will certainly not eke out.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris


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

      Eke does not mean increase or enlarge, I don't know what word you are trying to find but it's not that one. Go do a search on the word.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Actually, "to increase or enlarge" is now called "Petreusing"

      November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Safe in Texas

      It also means "to get with great effort or strain",

      November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • suzyq

      To eke out a living means to just squeeze out what you have to make ends meet...get a new dictionary

      November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David M

    Integrity and character seem to be in rather short supply these days with our alleged 'public servants'.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      No credit for resigning?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Since when did integrity and character become a prerequisite for public service?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. barry

    Will he still be held accountable for his knowledge on Bengahzi after resigning and the President accepting! All this sounds too far out of fetch for me to believe! Really! Look forward to coming days ! We shall see transparency right!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drew Smith

      To CDM and Barry:I just love how ignoramuses come to think they KNOW something about things about which they haven't a scintilla of actual knowledge. You are not privy to information on the unhappy events in Benghazi (learn to spell!). If ignorance is bliss, you two must be deliriously happy! The Benghazi attack was horrible, but people on the right have conflated it to such a degree that you would think it was a major event of enormous proportions that has left thousands of dead burned bodies and imperiled American national security. The loss of the ambassador and four others was a shame, but compared to the extraordinary misdeeds and failures of the Bush Administration (putting aside, for the moment, that Bush launched an aggressive war, duped Congress, cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers, left over 30,000 wounded (many of them with serious brain injuries because the Bushies didn't equip the troops properly), led to the death of hundreds of thousands of deaths among Iraqi civilians, strengthened Iran's position in the region, and cost the United States $3,000,000,000,000.00) it was not a major event. I am certain even you can remember the years 2002-2008. Maybe not. I think it is more a matter of willful disregard for reason and a sense of proportion.

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