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. jamessavik

    People in the intelligence business should know that the "honey trap" is the oldest trick in the book to compromise a person. He's right. He has to go.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael L.

      It's called the "Honey Pot".

      November 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dan M

    Can we say cover up!?!?!? Obama you really are a Chicago Politician! Any way to win an election.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. volunteered

    Gen (RET) Petraeus he is a casualty of the shake up after the electoral decision. I revered this man he was our Apollo, our Mars, and our God of WAR! That being said there has been an Electoral College decision made and we have our president for four more years. Our popular votes don't count for anything. That’s why there are campaign ads so the people who make that decision get paid. It’s a roundabout way but it works. I want to know who these Electoral College people are so we can have the proper transparency in government. We need proper transparency in our Presidential Elections at the very least.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • volunteered

      BTW the ads thing was a joke. however i really think there need to be some accountability to the faceless Electoral college.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • kman02

      Have you even looked at the popular vote? Jeesh! You must live in FL.

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

      Each state has electoral college votes. The number of EC votes a state has is the number of US Representatives a state has plus 2 (the senators). Most states are "winner take all" that is, the candidate that wins the popular vote in a given state gets all of that states EC votes. A few states assign EC votes proportionally. Under this system, it's possible to win the popular vote, but lose the EC vote. Candidate A could win many states by one vote, but Candidate B gets a big win in one state. Under this scenario, Candidate Candidate B's popular vote total for all states would be far greater than Candidate A, but Candidate a would be elected president.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • volunteered

      John. Thank you. For an educated response. My main concern is why even have one at all as there are 2o some states that have laws governing the way these electoral college delegates(?) vote while there are some that are party pledged and others are free to vote how they want. why cant we just vote. My friends sat outside polling stations in Places Like Iraq and Afghanistan and ensured those people we able to vote and that the people overseeing those elections we able to count every single vote. However in America we dont do that. we aproportion our voting to someones whim. The greatest country in the history of the world in my opinion and this is the best we can do. I mean we have I-thingys and I-whatsits but I have read a few reports of voting machines not properly working. I guess just, why?

      November 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. aj

    He only did that so he could get out of testifying before congress. Nobody can be that stupid to think that this incident wasn't "super convenient" for him.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • RPR

      How much more Obama administration dirty laundry will come out post-election??

      November 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mbona

    It's amazing how some in the GOP party still have not woken up from Tuesday. You lost. Get over it and come back to reality. You can continue to pull this country down and be divisive or come together and drive the country forward. With or without you, the USA train will leave on time and it has. All Republican leaders and losers have decided to move on and take their lumps. The rich billionaire lobbyists are licking their wounds for not being able to buy the election after spending over $1 billion dollars....that we know of.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael L.

      Very inspiring. How about you go back to 2004 and tell it to all the Democrats who decided they were going to block everything when Bush won again. Obama did not win in any landslide, the country is pretty evenly split on where we're going. Get off your high and come to the reality where we're all trying to make America a better country, not join the EU.

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

    Gimme a break. This man did not resign because he was having an affair. There is definitely something else going on here in addition to his incompetence.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Happy Nemo

    Very sad, wish him the best!

    November 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jdm

    How does an affair have ANYTHING to do with Petraeus' ability to do his job? It's plain silly that he had to resign.

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

      He works for the SPY outfit. Secrets like this make him vulnerable to blackmail.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I completely agree, take Bill Clinton for instance, he held the highest office in the land and continued after his affair.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Diego

    Whats the big f deal?!!!!! come to Canada General we are very liberals here:)

    November 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. larkwoodgirl

    How refreshing to see someone take responsibility for their actions instead of lying or trying to put the blame on someone else.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fred

    Why is it okay for the sitting president of the United States (Clinton) to have an extra-marital affair while in office, but a serious problem if it's the DCI?? Talk about a double standard.

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

      if you don't know the diff, you won't understand the answer

      November 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mikeytost

    Amazing Robert Muller of the FBI has been investigating this for two months.Was it not a threat to national security then but now it is?He will testify regardless in the upcoming investigation by congress.good try barry

    November 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sick of obama





    November 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alison R.

    Can't these men learn to keep it in their pants? Really think the CIA wouldn't find out? Moron.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pl

    Power, lust, older man-younger woman, We've seen this before.

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