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. sanchanim

    Sad really, compared to Leon he was much better suited for the job experience wise. Plus now there are rumblings that Eric Holder is on the out too. We have also rumors of Mrs. Clinton taking time off, ie leaving this administration. This is probably a good thing if she has any aspirations for a 2016 job in the government. She will be able to point to Obama and contrast herself against him with out having a hand in anything that happens over the next four years.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mtheumer

      "We have also rumors of Mrs. Clinton taking time off"

      Rumors from who? "Certain People"?

      November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wheels

    Neither Kobe nor Tiger Woods quit their jobs

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. scruffy

    what does being a bad husband have to do with being the head of the CIA?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • billmelater


      November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • numbnut

      He may have slept with the enemy, which is a long list.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ShawnDH

    musings wrote: "He's probably falling on his sword for Bengazi, doncha think?"

    Are you guys STILL desperately trying to spin some goofy some conspiracy theory about Benghazi? Good grief. Move on with your life. It's really ridiculous.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      Rather amusing to hear the Republicans have moved on from the "Show me his birth certificate again" argument to "Why did 4 guys die in the middle of a civil war surrounded by 100,000 people who hate us?"

      More amusing is that Republicans didn't mind 4000 dead Americans in the Bush Oil Debacle, but they get their panties in a bun about 4 guys who were where no reasonable human would be.

      Next week the Republicans will be back to "Can I see his birth certificate again?"

      November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Thomas

      This is no spin. Clearly Obama was trying to hide the truth about Bengahzi (sp?) so that he could be re-elected. He expects people in his administration to fall on their swords for him. Disgusting.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • salinesolution

      YEA!! The dead ambassador should just move on and get over being dead.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sglewis

    If employees at the Texas Workforce Commission resgned because of affairs there would be no employees. In fact that is the number one way to get promoted.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rdgccc

    Too bad he made a bad decision, but if that is what it takes to get someone to resign, it seems there are alot in the administration that should follow suit. But they only put down the other person and don't look at themselves. I certainly don't remember Clinton having the same moral values. He too should have resigned because he also lied to the American people.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Thomas

      He lied to congress also.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |

    Could we at least heve some 8 x 10 glossies of his mistress posted ?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gitdoun

    It's good he resigned. It's good for him and his family. The media love "Scandal" and by coming clean, apologizing, and leaving government office he diffused the news-network "field day" and subsequently spared his family alot of pain. He did a terrific job and the country will always be in his debt. I wish him and his family the best !

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Larmie F.

    He remains a national hero to most Americans. Regarding his personal life, let me repeat a quote we all respect: "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone"!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerry leigh

      Dear Larmie F,
      In this particular case I think that I qualify to "cast a stone" I have held a publicly funded, Public position for 44 years. In it I work with college age men and women. It has been a career filled with close contact with beautiful women. I have remained faithful to my wife all along and will continue to do so in the following fashion of Proverbs 6-32: "A man who commits adultery has no judgement, for he will suffer wounds and injuries from which he will not recover". And bye-the-bye, I am not a Christian!
      best regards!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jaun in El Paso

    Is anyone else a litte iffyy on this one? Is this really about the death of the Amb. in Lybia? Is he the fall guy or is he going to tell us what really happened?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jerry leigh

    Oh Gosh! Yet another hero bites the dust. I guess the stress just got to him. Well, at least he kissed his reputation "well" by saying "I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair...such behavior is unacceptable."
    I agree; it is unacceptable, and contrition doesn't fix it.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kim S

    How very James Bond of him.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. true justice

    We kow know what he was doing when 4 American hero's died waitng for the "little general" and Obama, The Butcher of Benghazi, to show leadership

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • time

      That's a reason to resign? Get a divorce and do your job

      November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      Aren't extramarital affairs the norm? Even rapist in the military get away with it.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeannie

      He is still sooooo cute! I have to admit that I have a crush on him.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kay

    This is just the beginning of things to come now that they are seriously investigating Libya. (now that the election is over, of course)

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MrApplesauce

    Conservative 'investigators' uncovered his affair while trying to dig up dirt on Benghazi.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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