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. MajorRumpRoaster

    Ain't nothing wrong with a lil' bump n grind, baby

    November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • helix10461

      You got it Major ain't you– Colonel

      November 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. brian

    This dumping competent respected leaders because of private matters is killing us. How many of the worlds greatest leaders couldn't be elected in this country because of their private actions. If the affair put him in a position of compromising his job then that's one thing, but if not, let him do his work and get on with our business.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Lot's of people have lost their clearances and their jobs at these places because of this kind of stuff. You can't make an exception for the boss...

      November 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paulo Delaporta

    He resigned because of an affair? Not even President Clinton did that!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Majestic

      That's right! And Ronald Reagan didn't resign after his affair nor did Nixon, Eisenhower, Vitter, Craig, and who lot of other far right Christian Conservatives...they're a joke!

      November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cindy

    When you take a job at the CIA, one of the first questions they ask is "Have you ever had an affair?" I hope he was not playing around when the Ambassador was killed.

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

      Do you think Petraeus was personally guarding the ambassador?? He has a million things on his plate every day. What the hell does a personal romantic affair have to do with Libya? I bet you don't even know where it is on the map...

      November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lololowe

    If the military has knowledge of the affair they are legally (military legal code) required to discharge him so he had to step down. I respect a man who takes responsibility for their mistakes. No one is perfect but I believe he did the right thing in stepping down.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. 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 | Reply

    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 |


    @ 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 |


    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 |

    November 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sorry in Portland

    I'm sorry he ever took the job. His excellence was displayed in him military career. Becoming a staff member under Obama would warp anyone. He's only the first to go: Holder, Geitner, Clinton are all ready to jump ship also. Maybe Panetta. What a sorry mess the O cabinet will be in.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pinkflam

      His "excellence" is pure propaganda cranked out by the most expert of King-makers. In reality he is a loser and always has been.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sally

    This is an outrage! He's not testifying next week?!?!? CNN, you should be all over this. So Obama is burying the truth about Libya because it would mean he'd be impeached.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky


      November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Why would resigning prevent him from testifying? Don't be daft.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      the acting head of the CIA is testifying instead. nothings changed

      November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 4bammy

    After his trial period, initiation into domestic CIA black ops must have forced his had to take no part in the serial murder of Americans by microwave emp over domestic wiring, generated in new smartmeter and telcom provider high power programmable wave generator RF systems.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pinkflam

      Wacka, wacka, wacka, wacka...

      November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex

    I don't understand what an incident in his personal life has anything to do with his career? So what he had an affair, that's his business.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      He was going to testify about Libya. Connect the dots.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      And resigning doesn't magically prevent him from being subpoenaed. Get a clue.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'He was going to testify about Libya'

      and how has this stopped him from still doing that?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gran

      Alex, Admitting the affair (real or made up) eliminates it as a source of blackma!ling him by Obobo. Now the prez can't stop Petraus from telling all. Just hope the General and all the other rats jumping ship have great b0dy guards.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. larry5

    This is just the beginning. The rats are jumping ship.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. choo

    Can't blame him for railing that pu$$y, but he just doesn't want to have to tell the truth about Benghazi.
    Something fishy there. (no pun intended)

    November 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pinkflam

      Petraeus and Hillary both signed iron-clad non-disclosure agreements, the violation of which would put them in prison for life. There will never be any question about them testifying in public; it's simply not going to happen.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pinkflam

    I doubt that Petraeus suddenly discovered an extramarital affair. Most likely, he just got sick of kissing that$.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nathan K

    Boo!! Get out *throws apple jacks*

    November 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. You

    nope, sorry. Timing is wrong. No one is going to leave a high paying, high position in government for "an extramarital affair"...... nope. Read between the lines. This was a forced resignation. The first of many....... watch.......

    November 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • veggiedude

      If he did not resign, then he would be a hypocrite in his own eyes, because as a General, he most probably had to discipline those under his command for doing the same. The Sherif in San Francisco found guilty of spouse abuse should take heed. This is the proper way how you conduct yourself in front of your peers and subordinates.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      so they forced him to admit to an affair he didnt have huh?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fernando

      Probably turns out to be a closet Muslim and maybe did some socialist community organizing back in the Mid-East. Thank God for we have Republicans to ferret out these things.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • silas prince

      You are so right

      November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • mojo

      Really you think he was forced out and the best cover story he could choose was to tarnish his reputation by saying it was an affair?? He most likely did have an affair, and it was most likely with a subordinate(obviously), and he is retiring before it blows up in his face. No one really cares anyway.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
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