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. andyoo

    yep...wait until after election to resign....another cover up ...resign because it's about to get exposed on the news.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kay

    This was just uncovered the week before the General was to testify on the Libya mess? Anyone buying all this BS?

    November 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rickygf

    A hard on has no conscience

    November 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    The real issue here is that as director of the CIA he has access to the nations most current secrets. There are many who would like this information. The director of the CIA needs to be unimpeachable – perhaps even more so than the president.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • vance


      You hit the nail on the head. He put himself in a bad spot...

      November 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Becky moganisty

    Hilary can not over turn a decision made by the leader of our country, the President. But a man who is in charge of protecting our country from others who would do harm to us, and can't keep his pants on with strange women needs to be dismissed.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ruthie

    How can you blame him? Look at his wife! Kidding! I just don't get why the resignation for having an affair. That is his private life. This people have power but at the end they are human beings. What should matter to us is his compromise to this country.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DUh

      The simple reason why is security. When someone in a position like his does something like this they can easily be blackmailed. Many people holding "personal" secrets have been blackmailed. It's real and it happens.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. marlene johnson


    November 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jonhill7

    Since when is believing an affair to be a serious issue "living in the past?"

    November 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dkknight593

    "days before he was to testify before Congress about an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya".

    Says it all right there. He would have been in the hot seat if he would have had to testify. I guess someone else will have to be the fall guy.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eileen

      I'm sure they were digging to find anything they could on him to get him out of the way before the hearings on Benghazi. They were afraid he might actually say that Obama denied the help to the Seals and Ambassador. Now that he's resigned in this "scandal" his credibility is less, they'll say.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yopienso


      Looks like he's in the spot Alexander Hamilton was in a couple hundred years ago, forced to admit to an affair in order to avoid something worse.

      If the affair started when he was in the military, he should lose his pension. Bet he won't, regardless.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rick1948

    This is a guy in one position where there can't be any chance that he's being exploited by a spy. He needs to quit.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anonymous

    reading these idiotic comments is more comical than watching Saturday Night Live

    November 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Debby

    He should be made to testify, why would this stop him it doesn't make sense.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      It makes perfect sense when you look at who's in the White House and who's the Secretary of Defense.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Why

    Why resign unless this violates his clearance rules, eg. foreign national involved? His personal life is his business.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • vance

      The primary reason for the resignation is that as a member of the intelligence community he opens himself up for blackmail putting the rest of the country at risk for foreign intelligence services. Believe me this action puts him at risk.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr.Paul

    I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but this sounds like a cover up. Am I really suppose to believe he stepped down because of an affair that had nothing to do with compromising intel? C'mon folks. There has to be something else going on.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      This whole Benghazi thing is really, really bad. If there is a cover-up, and it looks like it, we may be looking at impeachment proceedings.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      The FBI got a tip? And the General was to testify next week on the Libya investigation? Sounds like someone was supposed to be blackmailed into the "correct" testimony, but that plan didn't work.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Looks like a blackmail that went wrong...

      November 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • NV

      No cover up. know it off republicans!

      November 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake1717

      If you're not a conspiracy theorist then why did you cry coverup? Isn't it just as likely that after years of being away from his family serving our country, he has decided to resign to keep his marriage together?

      November 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    General, Hang in there Sir. Most of us make mistakes. Thank you for your year's of service to our Republic.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • kem

      Tell that to your kids and their mother. We do make mistakes, we're human. What I don't understand is how you take that to whatever church you may or may not go to every Sunday morning. We all have one Father, my ass is no better than yours really. Our children are so innocent, so precious, so good!!

      November 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
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