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. zombie_response_team_NOLA

    CIA Director Petraus resigns over 'affair' and now will not be testifying before Congress next week over the Benghazi attacks. First Hilary falls on the sword and now Petraus. I doubt the sword hurt nearly as much for Hilary as it did for Petraus.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hoofleau

    What's the big deal? J.Edgar liked to dress in women's clothing, Clinton smoked his cigar w/ Monica. JFK and Bobby did their thing w/ Marilyn. And the beat goes on.

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

      All about the timing.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yippee

    is the christian right wing road kill? for gawd's sake why is he leaving a national security position? idiot.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lewy

    Four-star moron.

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

      Toga, Toga, Toga!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DanzigsReality

    so he admits the CIA did not call off defending our soldiers in benghazi, and everyone admits it was obamas fault, so obama fires him. America, unfortunately you will be just like north korea soon thanks to obama and his liberal loon followers.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      what are you on about now?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      So according to you ... Obama fired General BetrayUs and the General's response was to admit to having an affair? LMAO

      November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhReally

      From the looks of your post, you and reality parted ways quite some time ago...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanzigsReality

      This only came to light after the attack, and after the General told every media organization that he was not the one to call off defending our soldiers. It could have only then been obama. Then, this came to light. Also, you shouldn't be fired for having an affair, and if he were a liberal, he'd never be let go cause of that, trust me.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'and after the General told every media organization that he was not the one to call off defending our soldiers. '

      no, he said NO ONE called off defending the consul, not that it wasnt him.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanzigsReality

      He said it wasn't him, who called it off, meaning it was obma.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'He said it wasn't him, who called it off, meaning it was obma.'

      no one told anyone to stand down for crying out loud.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chris

    Maybe if he was not out fooling around, they would have know how to help the Americans in Benghazi.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rachni

    This is not the reason of his resignation give me a break.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      so the reason was?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheepeople

      Cedar Rapids, it's over your head. Don't worry about it.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'Cedar Rapids, it's over your head. Don't worry about it.'

      you mean you have nothing
      its ok, you can admit it, we are all friends here.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • UsedbyDems

      This is the second four star general with long ties, intelligence, penetrating knowledge and full commitment to what has and is currently taking place in Afghanistan and Pakistan. First there was General Stanley McChrystal. Now there is General David Patraeus. You have to be superbly naive to believe these two departures are coincidental. However, the real reason the Benghazi assassinations occured has everything to do with one person and the information that one person had that others were afraid he would have released prior to the election. His name: Sean Smith.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nobody has mentioned this

    I think his reason for resigning is true. If he was being forced to resign, he would have just said that he was stepping down for personal reasons and wanted to spend more time with his family.

    Putting to the side for a minute that he let down his family and has a lot of work to do repair those relationships, I think it should at least be noted that he took the initiative on his own to resign, and has allowed the position of CIA Director to remain untarnished by his actions. There are a lot of politicians and government officials that engage in this type of behavior, but none of them call their own hand, and many refuse to step down when their hand is called by someone else.

    Other politicians and government officials should take this opportunity to learn a lesson from General Petraeus: The office you hold is one of great privilege and honor. It is bigger than you and me. It is bigger than our parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren. It was here before us and will survive long after us, and no one person has the right to sully its dignity. If you disgrace the office you should demonstrate the same level of respect for that office, and for the citizens that you serve, that General Petraeus has demonstrated by stepping down. People will always make mistakes, but your willingness to hold yourself accountable for your actions and willingly submit to their consequences is the real test of character.

    Our prayers go out to General Petraeus and his family, that they may find their way to peace and reconciliation.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      YEAH.. now Obamy can put a muzzy in that job and get it right with allllllllalllllalllh

      November 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sheepeople

    Hmmm. He was set to testify next week on Benghazi now since he resigned he does not have to testify. Two days after the election as well. The news was announced at 3:00 on Friday afternoon.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      instead Mike Morell is set to testify in his place.
      your issue?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sherman

      he still has to testify, but if it gets sticky for the agency then he did the best thing for them so they can go on and be effective, effective at what of course should have the over site of we the people.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      it was all pre-planned..... all clean and shinny on the outside... but real nasty on the inside...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynn

      Agree 100%
      Late Fri afternoon always seems to be so busy for major news. What are the chances?

      November 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Linda

    Another IDIOT bites the dust!!!! That's amazing things with your career and then ruin everythingWh because of your stupidity.....

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Victoria

    Does no one find it peculiar that the Director of the CIA suddenly resigns over an "affair" 6 days before he's set to testify before the Intelligence Committees of Congress over the Benghazi attack?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      his replacement is going to testify instead, so CIA still being represented.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bob

    too coincidental... I have a hard time believing that somebody as smart as that actually engages in an affair while he's CIA director. Everybody with even the lowest security clearance knows that's a sure-fire way to compromise yourself and be exposed to extortion/blackmail for all kinds of purposes. Even if the partner is completely innocent, if the wrong people find out about it, you're an instant target and you might as well hang it up, you're done, it's not going to end well.... so what happened here? Did he REALLY have an affair with an innocent partner and somebody found out? How long ago? How did HE find out he was exposed? Or was the partner NOT innocent? You KNOW that, internally, the CIA is asking all these questions and looking at any possible impacts (was he blackmailed into doing ANYTHING that they now need to know about?)... Was Benghazi affected by this (an obvious question)? But, this is potentially MUCH wider than Benghazi depending on how long it was going on... The article doesn't say that he won't be testifying, and you know, NOTHING protects you from Senators who want you to talk to them. You can refuse to talk, but you'll pay the price.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phineas

      Bob, sometimes even the smartest people make bad decisions...

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

    CNN I hope you find out the real reason for resigning, you no longer have a reason to protect the president, but I could be wrong on that.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Latina

    If it was really because of an affair, there would be no one left in Washington. This has everything to do with Benghazi! Once the truth comes out regarding the "cover-up", he will speak out. Stay tune people. This will get interesting...

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      so he would publically admit to having an affair instead of speaking out huh?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhReally

      You honestly think someone would cause this kind of pain to their spouse and the rest of their family as part of some sort of cover-up? That's pretty sad.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kennyzales

    When a leader and "national hero" at this level of responsibility and leadership prioritizes his c0ck in front of his country, where exactly are we (and our children) to look for role models again? Is integrity an unobtainable concept?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
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