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. kevin

    hi, its funny how people dont look at him as the man who led american forces and ended up having drone attacks every other day, it goes on and on and the only thing we hear is, suspected militants were killed, tell me, if u call them suspected, then there is a possiblility they could have been innocent women and children, the very reason u use the word suspected, because u r not sure, and u r killing soooo many innocent not knowing at time like this u can also be disgraced, well, wait for the day when u meet your creator to answer for the suspected militants, who were maybe women and children

    November 10, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • chicagorich

      It is a war you know. It would only be the losing side that would try every enemy combatant encountered on the field in civil court to establish their guilt before pulling the trigger.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kevin

    we wanted to get rid of the ruler of libya we made sure ever kid in every block had a A K 47 , we made sure weapons and innocent lives dont matter, now we see every other guy in syria holding a weapon, please tell me, are they plucking those guns from trees, everybody knows, we are arming the rebels, because if anything gets done militarily, its with amrican permission, will be alllow a gun weilding aggressive american population who wants to over rule the president, we will go by the law of the land and kill those blokes, then why are we arming rebels in other countries when its evil

    November 10, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. oneSTARman

    Anyone who thinks the FBI file on Petraeus' Affair with his Bio Writer was about National Security doesn't remember J. Edgar Hoover and how HE wielded POWER. Petraeus and Obama have NEVER liked each other – but Petraeus liked DRONES more than the Pentagon and Obama was adverse to Nuclear War with Pakistan and Iran. Obama used Petraeus at the CIA as long as he had to – after getting him away from the BUSH Wars of Distraction.
    NOW it is TIME for a New Cabinet and a New Day

    November 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    Infidelity by itself may not be a big deal. A matter to be sorted out by the spouses involved. However when a high profile govt functionary in a sensitive position of authority compromises himself it becomes a national issue.
    There are reports that sensitive info was leaked to Paula Broadwell and that is serious.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guantamamo Inmate

      Yes, that would be a private matter. The leaking of an impending covert act for example, would be for the justice dept to deliberate disciplinary action.

      November 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Xira

    It's a pity we are so incredibly judgmental that we throw away a good man for a minor crime.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lynn

    And the plot thickens. Of course Obama is taking resignation, now he doesn't have to testify. If his name comes up by another, they will beable to call him to testify. Don't care about an affair except that she may have been privy to info that she should not have been. If he were truly honorable he will come forth and testify and tell what he knows. What is he hiding?

    November 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dr. MC

    Many a "good man" has gone down in disgrace because of "THAT woman". Do you remember SAMSON?
    Samson was given a second chance, too. Hopefully, the good General will get the same.

    Does anyone remember General "IKE"?
    Wasn't he given a second chance and became President "IKE"!

    November 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richelle

    I read an interview Paula Broadwell gave earlier this year and she stated that she first met him in 2006 when he was giving a guest lecture to a class she was in. He gave her his card and told her to call him. Wonder how many other students he gave his number to? Makes you wonder how long their affair has been going on. If I were her husband I'd be requesting paternity tests right about now.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chris

    All In. Appropriate name for her book.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Culpepper

    Unless there were any illegal acts as part of that affair, there is no reason for him to resign !!! We had a commander in chief back in the 1990's having extramarital affairs all over the place and he did not reason. General Patreaus is a good man who did a terrific job in the Middle East as a military commander. His removal from the CIA is a loss for this country and his military expertise is just what is needed in that CIA job. Who cares what he is doing in his private life.

    November 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom tom

      He's not testifying some other guy is. I smell cover up.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • BiteMeBarry

      In Washington many of the Department Heads have affairs on the side and it's normally OK unless it's with a foreign national. Everybody remembers Bill Clinton and Monica and Clinton knew more secrets than the Director Central Intelligence.

      So what happened? General Petraeus was likely the one who gave the "stand down" order in Benghazi. The CIA likely had a armed Predator Drone, ready to take out the mortar crews that the two SEAL/CIA contractors were lasering for targeting from the roof of the CIA Annex. They never got permission and that mortar crew killed them on the roof.

      Most likely a Deputy Director contacted FBI counterintelligence and put them onto Petraeus's affair. One former CIA case officer or agent was on CNN yesterday saying how much the CIA agents hated Petraeus so anyone reading between the lines could understand what happened.

      If this is exactly what happened General Petraeus, you are a real snot and you got exactly what you deserved.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      EVERYONE should care! If a (man or woman) is unfaithful to their spouse then they are not fit to be in charge of anything. He can not run his own house if he has been unfaithful to his wife. I am sorry. He probably was a good general and may have been a good leader at one time but that all is changed if his wife can not trust him then we should not either.

      November 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. racistjew

    Poisonous Ivy bring him down.

    November 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Blatent Truth

    This is about U.S. policy in the Middle East, the ongoing “color revolutions,” and specifically the operation underway to arm al-Qaeda, the FSA in Syria, and overthrow the al-Assad regime. This story is a coverup probably part of a deal made by Petraeus to avoid testifying before a closed-door session of the Senate Intelligence Committee next week about the CIA’s role in the September 11 assault on the diplomatic facility and a CIA annex in Benghazi. Then the Ecuadorian President is accusing the CIA of funding his opposition in the 2013 elections.

    November 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Let's go Forward

    What an awful thing to hear. Especially this is about U.S. policy in the Middle East, the ongoing “color revolutions,” and specifically the operation underway to arm al-Qaeda, the FSA in Syria, and overthrow the al-Assad regime. This extramarital affair is a stargic placed news headline which is probably part of a deal made by Petraeus to avoid testifying before a closed-door session of the Senate Intelligence Committee next week about the CIA’s role in the September 11 assault on the diplomatic facility and a CIA annex in Benghazi. Then the Ecuadorian President is accusing the CIA of funding his opposition in the 2013 elections with money procured from the sell of illegal narcotics.

    November 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ma & pa

    Smoke screen obscureing false flags to keep the focus off what?

    November 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cactus Jack


      November 12, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Towanda

      You've hit the bulls eye Ma & Pa. Who???, indeed. Reminds me of the old saying that ends with something like"...but you can't fool all the people all the time." I surely hope the citizens of the U.S. don't let this get "covered up" any further and find out all the details of the whole wormy mess.

      November 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Julia

    Headline: 'Washington half-inundated by Schadenfreude.'

    November 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
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