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. james carter

    obama,you dropped the ball.with mr. bill backing you,why in the H ,did you accept davids resignation.u had the best man 4 the job.hope u sleep well

    November 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. qanerd

    How unbelievably convenient. And such a coincidence!

    November 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. FactCheck

    As to why is resigning... the person he was having an affair with is a reporter. And he was being investigated by the FBI.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tony

    Well, having SEEN whom he's married to, I can understand WHY he strayed...YUK!!

    November 9, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. FactCheck

    Oh you baggers and your conspiracy theories... I have a on of tin foil hats for sale.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. arosel

    He looks like a gerbil.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. FactCheck

    You bag-gers and your conspiracy theories. Haven't you learned from the election... the majority of the country sees you as nothing but a bunch of loons screaming at the top of their lungs.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Hey, i'm not a bagger, how are obama's illegaly detained people via the patriot act doing, and how many children has he killed in drone strikes that aren't neccesary because he destroyed al queda?

      November 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Julie

    A clear lack of judgement with national security implications, what if a foreign government blackmailed him by threatening to expose him, he knows better!

    November 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. FactCheck

    if Bill Clinton did not resigns why did Petraeus

    Um, because he is the head of the CIA and he was sleeping with a reporter.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.P.ALLEN

      Let me think . . . .The Commander-in-Chief is less significant than the Directr of the CIA. . . . hmmmmmm . ...What Country is this again? The real difference is General Petraeous is a man of honor who's wife was thousands of miles away for great periods of time and the other one's wife was in the next room. . . . but, then againit was Hilary . . . the female version of Stone Cold . . . .

      November 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. OrangeCryBaby

    Seriously, if THIS guy can get some w/o paying, ANYBODY can.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RightSmackAtCha

    There once was a guy named Petraeus, his wife said he'd never betray us. She said with no grin, as she wiped off his chin, "he certainly has gone and dismayed us.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldJoe

      Right on, smacka'

      November 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. helix10461

    Well, if you have seen his wife, you woud understand hy he cheated. Once in a relationship I put on 20 pounds, my gf broke up with me. After one year of chasing her, she told the reason she broke up was because I put on weight. David Petraeus's wife is a fat a**.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • sojournertruth

      So because his wife is plus sized that makes it ok for him to defile their sacred vows of marriage and publicly disgrace her?

      November 10, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Elvis

    Let's see whether Gen. Petraeus testifies next week at Senate Hearings on Benghazi. If not, then that will prove this is a cover-up to prevent truth of what happened in Benghazi from coming out.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • HincEtInde

      He is not testifying next week according to news! Fox will run this like crazy now.....

      November 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JuJuBee

      He's not testifying.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ReadOnceInAWhile

      [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.

      Answers will still come out.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. McGuffin

    As disgusting as people who have extramarital affairs are, I still do not understand why anyone thinks it would affect their professional performance. Who cares if a high-ranking official of any kind had an affair? So they're a human being. It doesn't mean they're suddenly incompetent.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nabob

      Because he is the head of the CIA and has access to incredibly sensitive information. An affair is something that can be exploited to get access to that information. Likely? Probably not but definitely possible and why it is a big deal.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • sojournertruth

      I generally agree, but it is an issue when the adulterer is in the CIA. The concern is that the situation makes the person susceptible to blackmail to keep the covert relationship secret.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jason Meyers

    Federal, state, and local officials should all be morally upright. Sen Feinstein wanted to keep Patreaus because liberals have corrupt morals. They're in bed with their neighbors, themselves, and their dogs.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
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