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. mannyv

    Petraeus was hung out to dry on Libya by his own subordinates. I guess it's better to resign for this than to resign because your subordinates fed you incorrect information.

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

    People like Patraeus don't just admit to an affair and resign. This has to have something do to with the Benghazi cover up.

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

    Is there a man left who can keep his pants on? And if you want to be with one person, end what you have with another? Jeez.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • helix10461

      As a man you can love more than one, why is it so hard for women to understand. Women make one egg per month, we make millions of sperms everyday.

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

      dont worry doll im sure there is a fat troll chaser just for you

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

    So much idiocy in this thread already. Congrats!

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

    Why should Petraeus resign over a private mistake? It is public and he can't be blackmailed-thus the public is safe. The punishment should come from his wife/family and his God -not the government. If he screwed up of recently with intelligence then fire him for that..not his personal life.

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

      Tell that soldiers who have lost rank ,lost pay ,extra duty,ect for the same.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alas

    Once a role model for me but now a disappoint. Extremely sad.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. No Fool Like That

    Oh gee, ANOTHER life long adolescent boy who liked to play dress up and used his politically attained position to impress girls. This certainly has never happened before.

    You KNOW she (or a jealous subordinate) was ready to out him; so he decided to try to not be Sinclair

    November 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Billy Moses

    Reblogged this on Billy Moses.

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

    Fake reason, gotta be something more serious than that

    November 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. eclemen

    This is a sad story. Of course, an axtramarital affair relating to the head of our primary intelligence agency leaves open the potential for conflicts of interest and blackmail, (and calls his judgement into questions as well, 37 years?) so obviouly he had no choice but to come clean and resign.That said, obviously kept hidden away until after a close and conentious election. How many more skeltons will fall from the closet?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    This is not a good reason to step down, especially so aburptly. I dont see how this move saves your relationship. You can work things out, or not work things out, without leaving your job. What do you plan on doing, begging forgiveness 24/7 for the next year or so? Come on.

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

      He's military and if you know anything about the military this kind of behavior is frowned upon. It is considered unbecoming of an officer or higher and is punishable by being dishonorably discharged. He did the right thing and the fact that you think his behavior is ok speaks volumes to your character

      November 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • helix10461

      @Hanna- you seem like someone who will never understand men. Probably single working in your 30s. As far as you military comment is concerned, CIA is not military.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. samuel

    another victim of a womans groin.

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

      Musta been Michelle O

      November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      Aren't we all.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RSFan

    glad he resigned. we can't have someone of questional moral character opering such a transparent and benevolent organization as the CIA.

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

      What, are you kidding? How about the former president Clinton, a proven serial philanderer? And how about JFK, and FDR? But Petreus needs to resign? I smell a rat.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Why not? Bill Clinton did it.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • alsandor

      Was he sleeping with a Chinese agent? If not who cares? In fact, who cares anyway?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackie

      and Newt Gingrich and the idiot that flew to Argentina and said he was somewhere else.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Norm

    Soooo...... Does anyone other than me believe this was "kept" out of the news until after the election?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • RSFan

      No, Petraeus held positions of power under Bush and Obama. His affair doesn't score political points for either party

      November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Who cares if it was? What does the personal life of the CIA director have to do with who should be chosen as President?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Veteran

      it is an obvious coverup pre election – just like Benghazi the drone attack the Russian missle deal - and watch for adjustments in the unemployment numbers (oops we really had more unemployed)

      November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackie

      so what?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      It has nothing to do with Obama.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • USMC Bob

      Petraeus' resignation, Iran shooting at our drones. None of this released before the election. Transparency my BUTT.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taxed to Death in Chicago

      I believe a lot was not discussed prior to the election as relates to national security; timeline and actions of the President during Benghazi, Iran's attack on the drone in international waters, General Petraeus' resignation and I am sure there will be more. If it doesn't suit this White House agenda, it does not get disclosed. If it does, let everyone know immediately and even let out a few national security secrets; Bin Laden killing and cyber worm just being two of the disclosures.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Moon

    Gentlemen, when are we going to learn?! How many great men will fall over a piece of tail before we figure out better ways to KEEP IT QUIET!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackie

      to keep it zipped

      November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
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