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. queenbee

    Just another weak , married man who couldn't keep it in his pants–men are pathetic.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. USA#0

    The tuth about Benghazi:

    Geo World, Nov. 2,2012

    WASHINGTON: The US mission in Benghazi that came under attack by militants on September 11 was mainly a secret CIA operation, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, shedding new light on the deadly assault.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. notea4me

    An affair is no reason to resign... I wish he would reconsider.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Exactly! It's a reason for a book deal. Doesn't his wife realize how much that will bring in?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      All those saying an affair does not warrant quiting, have no idea about security, clearances and the community. A basic CIA field agent would be tossed for having an affair. It is a security risk. It may not be illegal, but is practically so for security reasons. That is why it would be an item where he felt compelled to resign. And that is why the president would be compelled to accept.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Phineas

    blue with white spots

    November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WaynzWorld

    A man had an affair? Wow. Very surprising. Oh, wait. It must be that human nature thing again. How inconvenient!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. toadstool

    Gee, maybe every congressman/woman or senator who's had an affair should resign too!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Etch A. Sketch

    To the RIGHT-WING nuts still crying about the election: General Betray-Us is a Republican.

    Betray-Us undermined Obama early on. Obama did not trust him early on. But Obama put all that aside for the best of the country and promoted him to CIA director.

    Now you know why Mormon Bishop Mittens and the Republicans stopped attacking Obama over Benghazi with a month left in the campaign.

    Because it was not a cover-up by Obama ... but incompetency by one of their own Republicans.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. me

    Of course they must take his resignation... how could anyone think otherwise? The man was in one of the most powerful positions in the world, if he can let his guard down for a woman after 37 years of marriage, there's always a chance he could do something to compromise US security... hate to see him go, but there are certain things that just should not have any wiggle room... and to be clear, I voted Obama... so this isn't an attack from the right.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      Clinton had an affair in the oval office ! He didn't resign He is still a hero on the left!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Babak from LA

    If the D/CIA can not keep an affair secret, the rest of us don't stand a chance!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Phineas

    John. He doesn't think. He KNOWS.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    Many people will immediately connect this to Benghazi, but it could be much simpler than that. As CIA Director, Petraeus had one of the highest security clearances in the country. Having an affair made him vulnerable to blackmail and manipulation...a security liability. As CIA Director, he would know that better than anybody. With that in mind, coming clean and resigning was really the only honorable thing he could do.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. steve

    I understand he resigned and I understand he had an affair, but what was his poor judgment?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Saboth

    Oh no! Obama caused another bad thing to happen! All his fault. You know, it's weird that Repubs say Dems hail Obama as "The Messiah", but Republicans are the ones that blame every thing that happens in the world, from terrorists blowing up an embassy, to a border agent getting shot, to hurricanes, to extramarital affairs on Obama. I think they actually think he is God.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      I think you have that wrong its President Bush that usually gets blamed for hurricanes!!! You would probably say he was to blame for Sandy if he was in office. At least he was never running around with every rocker and hollywood type and allowing them on air force one! He would be helping our friends in NJ and NY. Why is Biden going on a Sitcom called "Parks and Reacreation"instead of doing something to help these poor people without power and food?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dreamer96

    Was the Woman in the affair, the one that called Mitt Romney about Benghazi???...They say the CIA was running an operation out of that same house that was attacked the night Ambassador Stevens died...Or was this a revenge act by others in the military..up on charges..

    You should watch the movie "The Firm"..using an affair as blackmail happens all the time,...and setting up the affair to use as blackmail also happens all the time too...And the CIA know all about the "Honey Trap"...

    November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John Doe

    Photos please....

    November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
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