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. Scott

    The dude had an affair. He admitted it and felt it was inconsistent with being director of the CIA. End of story !!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ghostface Killah

      That's just the beginning of the story. More news at 11.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pat Champion

    What woman would want to have an affair with this guy. You can't be too cute yourself if your having an affair with him.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Cute?? That's not what this is about !! He's the director of the freaking CIA

      November 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    Has Larry Flynt offered her a million dollars for her photoshoot yet, or is she a PIG like Monica Lewinsky?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff

    This is sad. We all fail in this life. I wish he and his family the best of luck.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. resawven

    i questioned a general trying to play spy chief but oh well.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. boyamidumb

    You think maybe he ran the war from between his legs too?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. luvUamerica

    I wish every politician was like that. Both Republicans and Democrats should learn from this man. He came out clean and honest. It is unfortunate what he did, considering the contribution he has made to our country. God bless him and hope he can continue contrubuting to this country in some way. A very valuable asset.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TY

    Patraeus a that stuff was good look on his face.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    He says he showed poor judgement? I say show us some pics and let US decide that!!!

    November 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Vance

    This is odd. If every public official who had an extramarital affair resigned we'd be turning over the whole political structure every 6 months.
    I presume this is related to Benghazi.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cantsee

    . He must have had a lot of moola for any woman to be interested in this goof.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. boyamidumb

    General, don!t take that personally. You may have been a better general, it was just a wrong war!

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

    Well, that didn't take long. Who is so dumb that they don't believe men cheat. But i think the Prez could have waited a little while to find out the facts about this great American military leader and CIA director. Very interesting.

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

      Yes, the President could have taken the crystal ball out of his desk, gazed into it and known this otherwise intelligent man was a womanizing cheat... Duh.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Betty Kaplan

      Haven't we learned anything after Clinton.
      The American people are beyond what happens in the bedroom or between a couple.
      David P is a brilliant American and much needed in the Gov.
      This makes me angry... 37 years of marriage!! Does anybody believe that lust lives more than 7 years???

      November 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tyler Durden

    So does he still testify next week? Or does this prevent him from doing so because he is no longer director? If this prevents him from testifying, or allows him to cite some rule that prevents him from answering particular questions due to being FORMER director, you'd have to think that this was orchestrated. It could also be that the General did this to free himself so he could testify without reprisal. Then again, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.... Let's see what happens next.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      his replacement testifies but at the end of the the day they say what did or did not happen regardless of who speaks.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eli

    Everyone makes mistakes. And on the surface it appears no laws were broken.

    General Petraeus has done more for this nation than practically anyone else, certainly anyone in the White House, Congress or the media. History will treat him very favorably. As a retired Marine I'm humbled and proud to say I served in the military under his leadership, albeit in a different branch of the service. I've yet to meet a flawless man or woman.

    Sir, good luck to you, your wife and children.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Mom

      Oorah! Thank you for your service! I agree wholeheartedly. I'm proud to say my husband served in Afghanistan on the General's watch.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
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