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. Nick

    I respect people who learn how to read and spell before making stupid, overbearing comments that seem to be taken directly from any random Lifetime channel movie. A man having an affair seems to equate to "wife wins moral and financial lottery". Get over yourselves. Work out the real issues like adults (real adults not t.v. adults) and move on or get a divorce. Shouldn't have anything to do with his career unless his career is marriage counselor.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nadine

    No, I shouldn't say that because it's not surprising. There is none perfect. But why this come out on a Friday. Somebody was about to rat o Petraeus.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MrApplesauce

    Interesting to see Americans have no concept of being compromised as the head of Intelligence.

    Kind of ironic.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ImIrish

      Kind of frightening, really.

      But, in this world of "Anything Goes", I guess, to them, that is no big deal.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • wyominguys

      Blindness and stupidity...the same mindset that elected the most INCOMPETENT President of all time. Your Roght On with your comment!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike T

      @wyominguy. WELL, its about time one of you Republican's finally took the blame for 4 years of GW Bush. Bravo. And I see that you still don't know the difference between You're and Your. Don't learn that type of stuff on Faux News huh? If you weren't so busy trying to cut out Public would have learned that from Big Bird like every other 3 year old.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gran

    Rats deserting a sinking ship! Hope Obambam goes to the depths of h3!! for Benghazi!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard Marks

      GROW UP! Nobody (except FauxNews) cares about your Benghazi

      November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike T

      If Obama's ship is "sinking" after he just finished handing you Republicans your @ss on a silver platter...then your ship is not even sinking, its totally lost in the Bermuda Triangle. Grow Up. You lost. Get over it. If you would have spent less time watching Faux News you'd have know you were going to the rest of the world did.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • wyominguys

      @ Richard Marks....its people like you who are the can't see the issue there...your Boy goofed up and an American Ambassador DIED along with several other Good Men. Your a Sad Case my friend!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gran

      Obobo didn't win the election, he st0le it. The LSM kept Benghazi and apparently the Iranian drone strike under wraps until they could make sure they kept him in office. Now the fi lth around him are bailing one by one. Having admitted his affair (if there really was one) frees Petraus to te tify against the prez without worrying about being b!ac kma!led. Just hope all the deserters have good b0dy guards.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mrs. D

      I hope Dubya can sleep at night that he allowed thousands of Americans to die on our on soil!!

      November 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. serana

    What a great military guy .. he went out shooting, and hammering his way ahead.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ed

    CNN left out part of what Dianne Feinstein said. She also said:Petraeus will not need to testify at Benghazi hearings she is chairing next week. Isn't that curious. Especially after the news of the attack on our drone that wasn't reported until after the election.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CMR. Rielly

    Very interestting: The liberal media wins the election for Obama. Now the CIA Director is taking the fall for him.
    The truth is Hillary gave him the Libya

    November 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why Why Why

      Intelligent people won the election for Obama....clearly.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HEY NOW

    If he could keep his lil piece on the side secret doesn't he make a good spy master?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. EndTheFed

    Build them up, bring them down. It's the model of government adopted by most of the US.

    He didn't want to play ball and he didn't want to die, instead he is defamed and he retains his oxygen.

    One driver in the motorcade is all it takes.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. barry

    i don't believe it ! I believe its for another reason! Now what happens next week is he still required to testify at the Bengahzi hearings and if so found wrong doing held accountable. Or is his testimony now null voided meaning no one will ever know what took place. As well Clinton resigning all in the same day! Come on whats going on here! Isn't she going to testify or will she be exempt as well! As far as an affair! Hum!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. General Robert E. Lee

    Gen. Petreaus the highest decorated military offical working for the Government gets pushed out of office for knowing too much information on Benghazi.
    People realize he is more of a leader than Pres. Obama. He put his life & others lives on the line while protecting us for over 30 years. the guy is a Hero. Forgive him for his transgressions,. Pres. Clinton has.
    He should of have been our next President.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrApplesauce

      Traveler is waiting for you to ride off into the sunset on.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wyominguys

    The Obama administration has without a doubt been the most scandal prone in memory....Why..??? Simple...there is a Lack of Moral leadership in DC which starts at the TOP. Look at the scandals, Justice Dept, Secret Service, GSA, EPA, ...I mean you had to know more was coming....hey look who Obama used to promote his election ..None Other than Degenerate Bill Clinton who could Not keep his zipper closed. These people are simply Immoral and America Voted him another 4, well you get what you pay for!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Why Why Why

    Wow this probably would have come out before the election if FOX news wasn't beating Benghazi to death in the weeks leading up to it....shame...

    November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ImIrish

      So, four people are murdered by terrorists (don't pay attention to the people behind the curtain telling you that it was about a stupid film that 50 people saw), and that doesn't concern you that the White House didn't respond when they pleaded for help?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sifto77

    explanation way too simple for me..a simple person..this will be a major coverup by whitehouse and media..obama has gotten away with worse....don't hold your breath for truth–obama is invulnerable.....

    November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Oyes

    General Petraeus was one of a few decent people in the administration. Now it's one less & the kinds of Hillary will be free to lie & deceit.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ImIrish

      Decent?! I'm glad I'm not married to you if you think that cheating on your spouse is no big deal.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike T

      Leave him alone...he doesn't know any better...just what he learned this morning on Faux Friends and Rush Limburger.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
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