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. barry o.

    Sounds fishy. There's a bigger story behind this that they're not telling us. Related to Benghazi perhaps?

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


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

      Or maybe related to the Kennedy assassination.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. phylbob

    I smell something fishy............

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

      So did the Generals wife, and it wasn;t her own.

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

      Depends on where the smell is coming from!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    Has anyone looked up his wife? This is somewhat cold-hearted, but when your physically mismatched to that degree these things are bound to happen.

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

      I lol'd! Then I googled her and began to lmao... (sorry, not sorry)

      November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. clip it off

    I think he should be castrated as punishment. Where's Lorena Bobbitt ?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. abbydelabbey

    Sigh. What is wrong with people? I guess some people cannot keep it zipped....

    November 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. momzna

    Was it with Anna Chapman?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Drew Smith

    If everyone who has had an extramarital affair should resign from their posts and didn't join the unemployment rolls, unemployment would disappear and we would be left with many millions of unfilled jobs. I fail to see why General Petraeus felt compelled to resign. Having admitted his affair, he could not be blackmailed. Alas, America is one strange society.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CDM

    Her name is Benghazi. Falling on his sword for Obama. Odd that this, the drone attack all come out after the election.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 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! Hard to believe one with so much contribution decides an affair is worthy of a resignation unless it was with a subordinate! Just wonder the real story here!

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

      Yes, he will still be held accountable. Just not as a member of Obama's staff.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Coflyboy

    Libya, Benghazi, Blablabla, Libya Benghazi, Blablabla... Are you gonna spend the next 4 years spewing the same thing? If you would spend this effort on something constructive you might gain some credibility and our country might move forward. Like it or not, America has re-elected Obama. The elections are over, there is nothing you can do. So stop spewing a bunch of senseless drivel, STFU, and do something more constructive than hate. Thank you.

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

      Well said

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

      I guess as an Obamacrat you are fine with our ambassador and three other American murdered. This has nothing to do with the election. This has everything to do with honor, honesty and morals. All which Obama seems to be lacking.

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

      I imagine they'll all go back to "Squawk, can we see His birth certificate again?" soon. They squawked that one for 4 years, and I doubt they are quite done yet.

      Hard to imagine they'll get much more performance on "This Republican was secretly working for President Obama" conspiracy theory.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • salinesolution

      Dispute the fact that the Obama admin had been warned multiple times that an attack was likely and the current security measures would not hold up against a sustained coordinated attack.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coflyboy

      CDM, your argument revolves around unproven theories, so it holds no water. The effort you have made to spew your nonsense could have been used constructively. Your hatred toward Obama has only obstructed any forward momentum we might be making. It's over, so now get off your rear-end and go build something.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ShaniT

    Resignation over an affair? Really? *Gives major side-eye* That is the cover story. I wonder what the REAL story is?

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

      And Kevin Love broke his hand doing knuckle pushups...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David M

    "Holly Petraeus led the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Service members Affairs".

    How appropriate!!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian in DC

    This type of stuff runs rampant in the military, there is much more to the story here. Hey CNN, how about some investigative reporting (for once in your life)?

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

      He's not in the military...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. james

    Name dragging in the dirt to follow. Look I am not sure the guy is worthy of much praise but this is what will happen.
    The former general will take large portion of the heat for intelligence missteps on Benghazi hung on his misleading briefing about the video tape and maybe other security briefing failures.. Susan Rice will get a pass and old Hillary may dodge a bullet, it is her DNA uptake from old wandering hands himself. Some assistant whatevers from the CIA will get handed there hats and taken to task as the real fools behind the setup. Obama sheds it by a miracle. Faded out in normal time.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spock500

      Indeed. Much like the fall-out from Iran Contra...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. scottlac anyone really buying this story?

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

      nope. I'm not. Sinister work at play.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in DC

      Only the ones with blinders on.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • D. Lenz

      Do we have any reason NOT to buy it? What's the big secret?

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