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 goodrich

    The general screwed up.not important. Our country needs him, x number of our presidents have done the same thIng.cut him loose and put him back to work. Lincoln said of to the country about a boozy Grant"just tell my what his favorite brand of whisky".

    November 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andybinga

    Resigned because of an affair? That is a good one!

    Petraeus had emphatically denied that he or anyone else at the CIA refused assistance to the former Navy SEALs who requested it three times as terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on the night of Sep. 11. The Weekly Standard and ABC News report that Petraeus's denial effectively implicates President Barack Obama, since a refusal to assist "would have been a presidential decision."This was all about Benghazi. He had been scheduled to testify next week in closed-door hearing about September 11 attack of U.S. Consulate in Libya. Now he will no longer testify as he's left his position.

    November 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebowski

      Yes but the new Director will testify you Donkey. Do you think ONLY Petraeus was privy to all of the information? lol

      The request for assistance did not go DIRECTLY to Petraeus so stop with your conspiracy theories and put the Pot away you don't have too many Brain Cells left.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Verbert

    They just released multliple time-lines on our response to the attack. Too little, too late. Either the minimalist security was intentional or it was not. If it wasn't, then we have a problem in how security issues are handled.
    If Patraeus massively fumbled some sort of important stuff, I expect it will come out one day...but until then, it's all speculation.

    November 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MrBob Kabob

    Only in America. The man liked another woman, that is Ok that looks bad cheating his family like that, but so what? Now it comes the question:Was he too unhappy in marital? Was the woman who cheated also extremely unhappy? Unhappy 95% of couples in long marriages are, but how bad was it? I still believe that most people who cheat are too unhappy and end up giving a jack damn if the other one finds it and dissolves the freaking marriage. I did the same.

    November 10, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. gizmocat

    hmmm perfect timing I smell a Benghazi cover up again. He was supposed to testify soon, now they will have to subpeona him as a civilian. Suprised he is still alive and breathing.

    November 10, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. massoud

    Betrayus is a green zone warrior who never saw combat in his life, and Iraq is looking like its falling into a civil war and Afghanistan is a quagmire yet the lame stream media proclaims him to be like General Patton

    November 10, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. krehator

    Republicans just do not give up. Everything is a conspiracy. They are so blinded by hate. They sound like teenagers that lost a video game.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gryla2

    If the DIRECTOR of the CIA can't even cover-up his affair, how are we supposed to trust him to cover up all the political assassinations Arab revolutions, and the keeping of the black man down that we expect from this organization???


    November 10, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • US_DOJ_Gov

      ". . . keeping the Black Man down" ??

      Do you know who is currently The President of the United States ?

      November 10, 2012 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Lebowski

      I hope OPERATION KEEPING BLACKS DOWN is never cancelled.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. maybeso

    Can the media be sued for defrauding the nation of an honest election? Get the lawyers ready.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. martino

    benghazi testify no indictment

    November 10, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. martino

    anyone believes this ??? for real? stops his direct testimonial out of the picture at hearing

    November 10, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • sparta

      well i was going to give you 2 thumbs up for that answer.2 thumbs up

      November 10, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. digitalclips

    What on earth does it matter? His private life unless he was bedding a Russian spy, is no one else's business and is no reason for him to have to resign.

    November 10, 2012 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Preston

    Outside of Colin Powell, this is one of the Generals I had a-lot of respect for. I was surprised to hear that he had an affair. I have served with him before, and he is a military genius. It is really sad that he has to go out with this hanging over his head. This sort of tarnished his many accomplishments.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. hubie

    Petraeus's genius was a gift and so was his wife and partner. It's a sad state of mind when we fail to recignize where these gifts are generated from. When we choose to give in to the enemy the consequences follow Hopefully Petraeus will get back to the maturing stage in his life and allow the spirit that led his genius to overflow once again.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. TheGreenMan

    Is the 'Shaggee' a taliban honeypot plant?

    November 10, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
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