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. Buck Rogers

    If Clinton didn't resign why should the General? maybe give the little general a Court Martial.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      Because there is no link between Clinton's affair and US getting attacked.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • kelly

      what has an extramarital affair got to do with his resignation? people cheat all the time and still work.. unless he is giving his full attention to family/marriage.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Clinton didn't work in an organization that demanded fidelity; Petreus did.

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

      I think he is less afraid of HIS old lady, than what is coming from the Libya attack ... He will be running from the US... now

      November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John Doe

    An Affair....really, come on you can do better than that!

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

      It was with a dude. Is that better?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in DC

      @Chris So DODT is not working if he can be blackmailed.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      would be cool if his girlfriend is a guy... now we know why DADT was appealed.... ehehehe.. he had a fudge guy on the side and did not tell mama...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. George Patton

    Who the hell made him a CIA chief? The guy who could not keep his mistresses secrete!

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

    Wow, for a guy who cheated on his wife, that's a pretty classy move.

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

      cat let out of the bag..... divorce.... on its way......and Libya mess in his lap... talk about being between a rock and a hard place.... sqeezzzzzzzz.spat.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian in DC

    Whatever the reason there is one thing for sure, CNN will not get down to the bottom of this.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    Definitely related to Benghazi, hopedully Petraeus and Clinton destroy Obama's credibility and demand a congressional investigation/impeachment of Obama, if that's his real name.. Probably the only chance the country has to survive the next 4 years

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

      Pipe down, Junior! The adults are talking....

      November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pablo

      You elephant following people are so funny....

      November 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. THORN

    Hey Americans.

    Doe anyone know what does "extramarital affair" means?

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

      Yeah, it's when you leave one wedding reception and attend another.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I find the timing of this incredible! I believe Petraeus was not willing to tow the White Houses story and then testify under oath to Congress. It's just my theory but plausible. Petraeus might be a cheater on his wife but I do't believe he is a liar.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in DC

      He isn't and I agree with you. It's all about Libya.

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

      you don't see cheating as lying? or that lying is involved in cheating? or that cheating requires lying? humm?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in DC

      ...under oath ALT

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

      cheaters don't lie.... RIGHT!!!!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Gen. David Petraeus is a great man despite his shortcomings and we all need to respect him for his service to our country. I'm sorry to see him leave his post but I pray he will continue to support this Nation.

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

      ok.. he is a hero... and we can trust... be we just can't trust his dic...not my problem as he will never get close to me with that nasty thing..

      November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Perry

    Quitting over an affair. Don't see the need for a CIA employee.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. T. Hobbes

    A month before the presidential election Hillary Clinton took the blame for the Benghazi attack, now whether or not you believe that's Obama covering his behind is up to you. Petraeus was supposed to testify at the Benghazi trial in a week and now after a meeting with the president, Petraeus resigns from his office? This is not about an affair, this is about removing Petraeus before he can testify about what really happened without committing perjury . We know the president has tried to hide many facts from the public about Benghazi, and now this is one more step in the cover up.

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

      T. Hobbes: Like most conspiracy theories, yours doesn't hold up. Firstly, as I understand things, Congress can still force him to testify. Resigning doesn't solve this. Secondly, if it was all orchestrated by Obama to cover his own butt, why would Petraeus go along with this as the cover story? This story could very well wreck his life, not to mention permanently tarnish his reputation that he spent years building. Even if Petraeus was willing to cooperate with some sort of "cover story" allowing him to step down, surely they could think of something less embarassing and damaging.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AMasri

    its obviously staged... poor wifey...

    November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      lucky wify.. she will get millions..... and a new dic...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. martin

    sigh: "Benghazi was an attack ON the usa, not a scandal For the USA" -RM

    November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • kristinewt

      A Conservative, an affair? Nah can't be.

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

      If it was with a gay guy or a woman trying to get a green card, this would not have made the news in a negative light.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. WherewasFox

    So if this were a coverup til after the election, where was the fair and balanced entertainment news source when all this was going down? Oh yea p*ssing away airtime on a Benghazi conspiracy theory. What suddenly happened to that "biiiig" story that took months for them to tell over and over and over anyway? Oh Big Bird fed it to the Election Monster or shall I say jammed Florida ballot scanner. Whatever

    November 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Delta29

    As a former paratrooper, and member of the 82nd Abn. Div., It sadens me too to see this kind of behavior. I thank him for his service. I too hope its not in order to dodge any benghazi inquiries. I also hope it was not with a man! Regardless its wrong what he did, and right for stepping down! All the Way!

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