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. sparta

    i dont believe its the publics business what he does privately. but he is a figure alot of people look up too.mabe the lady was not just gona stop at the book writing.or mabe with the question hearing, it would of stamp his creditablity in some way,

    November 10, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • OneMore

      True only bill Clinton is allower to do that- you know who Bill Clinton is dont you? Obama's right hand man- that helped Obama coup is way into another term.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. sparta

    i think i spoke to soon... this is fishy..this is gona make him add another chapter to his book

    November 10, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. sparta

    is he pleading the 5th this way?

    November 10, 2012 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. truth teller

    what flavor is the kool-aid you drink to buy any of this?

    November 10, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Montezuma

    at least he did it for a good looking woman. I mean, if it was another Monica Lewinsky or someone like that I would have to ask why. Good luck to them. I hope their few lusty years together will be everlasting. Amen.

    November 10, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. OneMore

    Purging the Military of it's leadership- for political rivalry reason. On our way to Autocracy- al la Obama style.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. movarth

    Well I wish he had an hero'd, but I guess walking away from the job will work too.


    November 10, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. OneMore1

    reading these blogs, it's startling to me that my fellow well meaning americans are not seeing the real picture of what's going on here. Obama is eliminating is political foes, within his ranks- to consolidate power.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. OneMore1

    Read up on Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany- step one eliminate 1 by 1, the obstacles to supreme power- and where does the essence of the oppostion existing- the top military command. God help us- with what comes in they're place, but the process is already happening under our noses. First McChrystal for calling bite me- biteme- then the other general for being fresh- now our greatest of the great Petreaus- again for a personal matter that shouldn't even be public inthe first place.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |

    This entire story is fake, a clever fabrication by U.S. government terrorists. Do you REALLY believe the FBI has the power to oust a CIA Director? Gimme a break. I don’t believe that’s possible. If they tried they would be KILLED by CIA hit teams. The FBI are ignorant low level grunt dogs compared to CIA and NSA.

    You people have been duped once again by government terrorists and their media accomplices. You poor dumb mongrels believe everything your told by Pentagon TV experts.

    That’s why your beat without a fight.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • HarleyBaka


      November 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fred

    He was forced out by the Mooliyan Obama. Hopefully he'll give Mooliyan up , so we can impeach.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. Banning

    I think what people tend to forget is that infidelity is a security issue. Someone holding the rank of the Director of the CIA is supposed to be above reproach. Anyone who has ever has a top secret security clearance knows that both infidelity and debt are the top two reason to either lose their security clearance or get it denied in the first place. Someone holding that position shouldn't be able to have something over their head that some other foreign intelligence official can hold over their head.

    That being said, I never liked Petraeus. His main policy in Afghanistan was, "Don't tell me bad news" and his failed policies of 'winning the hearts and mind' ; and not establishing the idea of telling the people of Afghanistan that we were after Al Qaeda and not the Taliban and we only wanted the Taliban to split it's ties with AQ. He had a 'short man's complex' and didn't ever seem to grasp the idea that the foreign fighters from Pakistan are the main issue in the war.

    I'm glad to see him gone from any position.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      How about when a president did it about a decade ago?

      November 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. brendatobias

    It's 2012 and it may be time to reexamine what we consider to be inexcusable moral failing. The notion that adultery could compromise participants is weak at best. No one engages in adultery thinking discovery is not s possible outcome. People are flawed and they should be allowed to be so in private. To see adultery as a symptom of amorality is myopic. If we are to consider people's personal life as an indication of their professional suitability, we need to examine how they treat their children, parents and neighbors.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. larry5

    Interesting timing. Is monkey business like this the beginning of the end now that the Obama timetable is ticking down.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    Really? Just in time to keep him out of some potentially revealing testimony on a situation that is much more serious than his personal immorality...what an incredible coincidence...

    November 10, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
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