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. Siggie

    Never underestimate the naiveté of the American public...

    November 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fundies

    did they reveal the name of the guy he had an affair with yet?

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

    Why in the world would an extra-maritial affair affect his abilty to run the CIA? What in the world does his personal life have to do with Central Intelligence? America is weird.

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

    Interesting that Admiral Lyons in an editorial posed the question, who paid for the movie. He went on to say that either the CIA director or NI director should answer that question.

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

    As far as Benghazi, Panetta already said that HE was the one who "couldn't send anybody in because we couldn't see" (in his own words, and this was reported everywhere, not just on FOX).

    But this is 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 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      I just don't want Biden to become President... please...

      November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Petraeus fan

    The affair would have made him vulnerable to blackmail and extortion if it were still a secret! Now that it's out in the open, he's free of that threat, and I wish he'd stayed. I'll warrant that he's neither the first nor the last CIA Director to have an affair. As much as I'm against adultery, a CIA Director who has not engaged in it is probably a bit of a milquetoast, kinda like Boomers that haven't smoked Pot.

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

      So the norm is adultery? Come on...

      Next you'll say that every President soiled a Blue Dress in the Oval office.

      He messed up in a very senior position.... Keep your stuff in your pants or get a separation/divorce!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Latina

    If people started resigning in Washington because of an affair, there would be no one left. This has nothing to do with that and everything to do with Benghazi. Once the truth comes out about the "cover up", he will speak. Stay tune people. This will get interesting...

    November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      A 4-star Republican General admits to having an affair ... and you think it has something to do with him trying to protect Obama? LMAO

      November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • beach2you

      Clinton set the tone...but my oh my how quickly people forget!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tincada

    Who was she?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. us_1776

    He had an affair with a spy.

    More to come.


    November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bhiner99

    Wow. Another "event" just after the election. The Iranians attack us last week, and now the DCIA resigns under a cloud. What's next? Hillary has a DUI?

    November 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rotorhead1871

    he just doesn't want to testify about Benghazi......get real ...... these heavyweights are out boning whoever they want....

    November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cameron toups

    Petraeus 2016

    HE WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT. The more time to distance Petraeus the Human from Petraeus the Candidate the better.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      He CANNOT run for President any more ... he has lost all credibility.

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

    Maannn why is this idiot think about marriage?? Did he walked down the aisle blindfolded?? He didn't know that marriage is a committment???/ Stupid cow!! after all his hard working for bleeding nothing ... this is for you idiot "marriage is family and family comes first" if you still didn't get it... if you don't then have a miserable life stupid

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

    The idea that he's resigning to avoid testifying about Benghazi is First Rate Stoopid, since he could just as easily be called to testify whether he resigns now or not.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • KB

      Immature spelling aside, that is a very good point. If he is resigning, it isn't a dodge from testifying. Or at least not a smart one.

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

    So are the people that are saying he shouldnt have to resign for this because you dont get rid of someone good at their job the same folks that call for term limits for senators?
    just want to know.

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