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. Robot Monster

    EVERYTHING is a conspiracy! There was Adam and Eve and there was a CONSPIRACY to cause them to sin becuaue otherwise there won't be anything for God to do! Thus, the Serpent was created by God to DELIBERATELY corrupt His own creation! CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY!

    November 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mos

    IIt's the CIA! A CIA Officer having an affair is open to blackmail. How could the General enforce discipline, prevent CIA pfficers from compromising security, if he kept his job.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hwy 9

    OMG. Here come all the idiots with their empty-headed conspiracy theories. People – get lives of your own so you won't have to live everybody else's for them.

    Here's the simpleton's guide to what happened in Benghazi: Four men accepted jobs in one of the world's most unstable regions. They were killed by terrorists. Period. End of story. What is WRONG with you people that you cannot understand that? Fox News made stuff up to make the President look bad, and you idiots ate it up like it was manna from heaven. They wanted Romney to look like a bigger man than he was, so they had to make Obama look incompetent. What is so difficult about that?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sam

    Patraeus, take a hint from the election. Social conservatism is dying. No one cares if you had an affair.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Profit

    Not even remotely an issue.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Faisal

    Resignation of Gen. David Petraeus is an good sign for Pakistan because he want to take some hard steps against Pakistan but Obama is decided that he will never open any new war front.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack

    Hey people, don't make this about Benghazi unless you have some evidence in that direction. Have some respect, please.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tim

    Does anyone else think the timing of this is just plain weird or is it just me? Well only time will tell...

    November 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Maher

    "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair."

    Oh Man ! Why You're Not Married to the Woman You Want. You people use women illegally and you dont give your victims a respected relation. Convert to islam and get the solution instanlty .

    November 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JC in Western US

    How sad. He has had an honorable career and then makes such an incredibly bad decision at the end of it. I just don't understand how people can make a choice that they know would destroy them and destroy their families, and call into question the work of all their colleagues. I give him credit for making the decision to not continue to hide something that could have resulted in security compromise at the highest level of the CIA, but I have to wonder if the resignation came only after that had already happened. How do we know that the nation's intelligence agencies and the information they gather wasn't already compromised by him? How do we know that he wasn't forced into resigning after being discovered?

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

    Hes not married to all the people who wouldn't forgive him,just one wife right?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. live4lessvegas

    I don't think the affair had anything to do with his resignation. The affair was convenient. He resigned to avoid testifying on something having to do with Benghazi. Or else he is planning on coming clean on the whole affair.

    There's much afoot here we don't know. I believe Romney would be President-elect today if he had exploited Benghazi. Why didn't he do it? And I'm not indulging in partisan whining, I didn't really like either of them.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivan Hanne

      he didn't do it because Americans don't care about it. they wanna hear about jobs & the economy.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mos

      It's the CIA for Christ's sake. A CIA agent having an affair is open to blackmail and is a security risk. How can the head of the CIA enforce this on his troops when he gets excused. In another service, he could get excused, but not in a spy agency.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • july

      Keep Dreaming r you awake?Obama is the PRESIDENT.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jann

      This man is unattractive and i can't imagine a woman wanting to sleep with him. It just makes sick to think about. I mean he dont look good. I think he means he wants to have an affair, maybe.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Robertson

      Federal, state, and local officials should be morally upright. Sen Feinstein wanted Petraeus to stay. Liberals don't care about morals because they kept Clinton in office. Liberals are in bed with their neighbors, themselves, and their dogs.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ronvan

    I knew an old CSM, friend of mine, that ALWAYS gave a briefing to new recruits in his battalion, male and female. It went like this: God only made one mistake, and that was when he gave man two heads! When the one between your legs is soft, then your head works OK, BUT, when the one between your legs takes over your brain doesn't work worth a hoot! He ALWAYS got a standing ovation on this.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rachni

    All the messages and commands made that night are set in stone. By next week our elected representatives that are actually trying to figure out what happened should see all of it, then we'll know who didn't give the go ahead to cross Libya's border with american forces. If they don't get that information then it will get much worse very quickly.

    We already know the fabricated story tale about the video was patently false, the mountain of evidence that is now available has shot that story down completely. The President stated on 60 minutes after the rose garden speech that it was too early to call it a terrorist attack. He straight up lied in the 2nd debate and got away with it, Candy Crowley must feel foolish right about now. He did state that Americans were attacked so at least he knew that.

    CBS held onto that 60 minutes video until Sunday evening november 4th. That would have been big news and lots of questions for the President if CBS had released that after the 2nd debate. Instead, they cover for the President, and all the journalists ask themselves why did they do that? They did it to protect the President to help him win. That's the country we live in now, unbelievable.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J e f f F r a n k (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    The mere fact he came forward with his case of infidelity, tells me this is a real man, with real compassion, and a person that has a genuine interest to pull his married life together. My wife and I married the same day as Bill and Hilliary Clinton, and 37+ years is too much love and happiness to throw away. Those of you that think nobody sees these affairs as things to worry about, take your godless hedonism away from here, nobody wants to hear it anyways.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthernConservative

      Petraus said to tell you that it is your wife he is having the affair with.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
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