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. Monsieur D'artagnan

    The marital affair is just a smokescreen for a long long needed shakeup of the CIA. Obama has been the only President with the will and the strength to accomplish this. Look for more changes down the hierarchical line in intelligence , military and political areas. This is just the start.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      so why admit to having an affair to accomplish this?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • malibu123

      Really? This guy quits because he had an affair and suddenly it's another reason to cheer for your messiah?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Operafan10


      November 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ztom

      Are you saying that Obama convinced him to have an affair in order to have him step down?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      Was he not appointed by your "anointed one"? Check your history from real news, not Obama's Censured News Network. Meant to keep all of you in utopia? The real news about Obama always ends up on the edit room floor.

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

    ok. so what's the real reason. no one expects a spy chief not to mess around with women (remember James Bond?)

    November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spencer

      Bond was a fictional character, you idiot!! You must be one of those "online degree" Phds. So stupid.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ABE

    Is he different then the world bank"s Chief???

    November 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • danno

      or Clinton ? or Kennedy ?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tank Annie

    If it was an extramarital affair it had to be "paid" for. Gross.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maxwellstar

    David Petraeus isn't that the guy that said that Afghan parents where killing and burning their own children's just to make him look bad ?

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

    Only in the U.S. can you be in control of the largest secret agency & still get busted for an affair. Our Gov't can't hold water for nothing !

    November 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Operafan10

      Ask Bill Clinton.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SoundsLiveACoverUpToMe

    My guess is that somebody had the goods and was blackmailing him. He waited until the election was over to pull a Letterman on the blackmailer by exposing his deed himself. Likely doing this to show his wife his concern for her is worth more than his job in order to save the marriage. Hopefully this works out for him.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Operafan10

      Just what Bill said to Hilary.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gran


    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 | Reply



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


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

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


    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 |


    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 |

    November 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      haha, ok too funny.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      So agree. Right now, things just don't add up.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cheryl

    Lame Excuse !!!!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gloria Fisher

    Such strident criticism from so many self righteous obvious tea partners .There,but for the grace of God .......

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

    honey pot!
    oldest trap in the book, bad spy chief, bad

    November 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lisa

    I have no right to judge David Petraeus. He is a human being just like the rest of us. However, I don't think it is too much to ask for our leaders to set the example.

    Resigning was the right choice. If he can't handle his family life, he has no business trying to handle the CIA.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bryes

    It's only about S e x! An affair is no reason to resign.
    Bill Clinton

    November 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Miriam

    For all of you who have posted denigrating comments about Ms. Patraeus, all you are doing is showing how acceptable it is in our culture to be shallow and cruelly misogynist. He isn't attractive himself...but no one seems to be pointing that out.
    And so what anyway?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • HanValen5150

      Unfortunately, as history has shown us many times before, women will flock towards money and power, regardless of what the man looks like. How shallow can you get??

      November 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. General Robert E. Lee

    This is another example of Pres. Obama's way of DISRACTING the American public.

    What a great decision to prevent Gen Petraeus from testafying next week and discussing details on how the White knew of the 4 US State employees geting killed by radical Muslims, friends of Obama. This is just like Hurricane Sandy from DISTRACTING the American public from voting the Right way.

    We can only Hope that Congress subpoena's Gen Patreas next week. No More Stone Walling by BO.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • HanValen5150

      I believe he resigned ahead of what might have been an apparent blackmail scheme to keep him quiet. Now that he has come clean he can still be called upon to testify and do so with impunity. There is nothing over his head and he's free to speak openly about how our failed slack-jawed lazy president has blood on his hands.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hwy 9

      Excuse me, "Robert E. Lee", but what the heck do YOU know about it?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Are you saying Petreus had the affair with Obama, or that Obama created Hurricane Sandy?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
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