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. Wisco-Puckhead

    He should have stuck to cleaning his own pistol, less chance of a premature "discharge"

    November 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nat eccs

    If you can't be loyal to your wife, how could you be loyal to your country?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    So, the one dissenter against the Obama version of Libya resigns amid a scandal probably known to insiders for years and it happens days after the election. Yup, nothing to see here.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. stevechicago

    This is just too strange. Benghazi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The country freaked about Watergate and Iran Contra...this is way beyond those events. I hope he can still testify, and DO THE RIGHT THING. TOO MANY people are keeping their mouths shut, and not doing what is "right."

    November 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nadia

    Are some of you really this naive? Isn't it coincidental that given his resignation he now does NOT have to testify in the Benghazi mess? Do you need flashing lights around what is happening here????

    November 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Boisepoet

    In other news...Tinfoil sales are up, especially in Red states...

    November 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Thinker

    No six pack of Viagra and Hustler magazine for you.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    So Clinton could have an affair in the Oval Office, but a military/CIA man must retire???

    November 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rep

    Hey Republicans...

    The Americans in Libya died while looking for WMDs. Happy now? Good. This means no further investigation or proof is needed.

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

    Seem to remember a complete breakdown of intelligence that led us to 911. The worst attack ever on America and it happened under the Republican's watch. Never again.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 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 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mary1972

    It all depends on who the woman is and how long it has been going on.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. michael guthrie

    This is a travesty, the greatest military mind since Patton is undone by personal relationship issues that is nobody's business but his and his wife's. The president should not have accepted his resignation, there isn't a single person in the world I respect more than the general, he will be greatly missed.

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

      I AGREE!

      If the woman isn't a security risk, then he should continue doing the work, that this country needs to defends itself.

      Warriors are human beings, but you don't get rid of such a talented man, for his extracurricular activities

      November 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike P.

      What a bunch of idiots you are. The man is a cheat. He does not belong in the CIA or any other position of such top security.

      Cheats have no place in our military/politics. PERIOD.

      Grow up, folks. It is NOT ok to cheat.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Thinker

    Sue Pfizer, did not warn you that Viagra is addictive.

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

      could be an issue.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Harvey

    I think he resigned for some other reason; the affair was an excuse. For example I could not have cared less about what Clinton did with his zipper; I only cared about the job he did

    November 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BullSeye58

      You should care when your country's leaders are vulnerable to blackmail.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • deneicy

      Harvey, I agree. I started researching Benghazi just last weekend after watching a pretty far-fetched video called "Romney Exposed." If you're interested, the Benghazi stuff starts at 28:44.

      Petraeus was too tight with Romney. He was considered for VP and let things go awry in Benghazi. google" Romney campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia both responsible for Benghazi attack" Then "Benghazi Mormon Knot" and "Mormon Fingerprints Investigation"

      November 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
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