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. scott

    A sad ending to a great American's career. Thank you General for being there when your country needed you. We need more like you.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tptlead

      Not an ending – a beginning! What a great excuse to go earn some major $$ with his skills and abilities. The U.S. is outsourcing much of its State Department security and military activities to private companies. I would much rather have a company with Petraeus involved being contracted than some of the foreign companies we currently use.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |

      Let's all give a shout out to all the dishonest cheating liars out there!


      November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • joilpem

      yes the Tillman family applauds your wonderful honesty and service...thanks for taking care of their son.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cactus Jack

      The General will do fine, the country will suffer some because he will be replaced by some political hack that isn't qualified for the job. Petraeus should have been the head of Defense and that political hack Panetta who was never in the military and doesn't know an M16 from an M4 should have been in the CIA. His lack of intelligence would not have disqualified him from getting the job.

      November 12, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. steve

    Who was the guy?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Holy crap, where have you been for the past 10-12 years?? He was only the greatest Army general of our time. He led the 101st Airborne Division into Iraq during OIF. He was responsible for the "Surge" in Iraq that calmed down all the sectarian violence. He was the head of CENTCOM for a while. He was responsible for leading the "Surge" in Afcrackistan, and he is/was the current head of the CIA. He was an excellent soldier and it is sad that his lifelong career of service to this nation has to come to an end like this.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mick

      I believe that the 1st Steve was trying to imply that the affair was with another guy, a poor attempt at humor

      November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who was he? Just another lying, cheating Republiturd

      Nothing to see here, folks. Nothing new to see – just another lying, cheating Republican.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SAK

    What government retirement will he be looking for next? Man, they sure add up. Great gig. Next stop government military contractor. He's had the connections for awhile.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tptlead

      Yep. Next stop is security contractor – possibly responsible for U.S. embassies worldwide.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. glades2

    Always sad to hear of something like this, but interesting that what came to mind was that saying in The Lion King:

    "It starts"

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. johnquepublique

    OOOOOOOOOPS! Is is just me, or does this sound like a further cover-up for the OBAMINATION? Just askin'...

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • brownwrap

      Yeah, its just you and the voices inside your head.

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

      It's just you.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynne

      Bitter, party of one, your table is ready

      November 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      just you.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FactCheck

    Wait for the baggers to cue up their conspiracy theories in 3..2..1..

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      You're two hours late with that...

      November 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    So let me get this straight:

    President of the country has an extramarital affair with wife and retains his position;
    Head of CIA has an affair and resigns?

    Cover up. Plain and simple. Libya.

    Country is finished folks. Corruption and deceit have pinnacled.

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

      ok, care to tell how this was a cover up? how does accepting this guy's resignation somehow cover up something?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler Durden

      Well "Cedar", it could be that someone was trying to blackmail him over the affair to get him to falsely testify, etc. Perhaps the General did this to pull the band aid off so to speak. It will be interesting to see what the General has to say the next time he's called to testify. Anyway, you asked, so there you go. Not that it's a conspiracy. But it certainly is interesting timing.

      November 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AmyinCambridge

    This hardly seems to be a reason to resign. Unless the affair was with a Libyan spy or something.

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

      People in intelligence are prohibited from continuing in intelligence roles if they've been found to have an affair. It is a potential point of being able to compromise their integrity (think blackmail). The same is true for excessive debt levels (think bribery).

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

    Last week secret service kills himself for the same reasons and now this guy??? Something's fishing in the White House!!! A lot of the cabinet members leaving OBAMA!!! OBAMA is definitely CURSED!!! Obama and his crew are in hot water!!! HERE YOU GO OBAMIE PEOPLE!!! they all waited after The election!!! SEE HOW SNEAKY THEY ALL ARE!!! FAKE FROM THE TOP DOWN!!!

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

      Exactly why YOU LOST!

      November 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      so true, another 4 years of hell now..

      November 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'HERE YOU GO OBAMIE PEOPLE!!! they all waited after The election!!! SEE HOW SNEAKY THEY ALL ARE!!! FAKE FROM THE TOP DOWN!!!'

      waited until after the election to do what exactly? and fake what?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey - dickless - this happens after EVERY election

      There's ALWAYS a cabinet shakeup. ALWAYS, you dumb-azz moron.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jay

    Whatever – is it bc of the affair or because he failed to protect our people

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

      Could be both. He was busy too busy with the affair and didn't see the red phone light up.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. crystal river chick

    I certainly hope this doesn't put our military in jeopardy. Don't these people know about divorces?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      That is why it's called an affair. You can't help yourself.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Carl Hall

    Another coverup, He wanted to tell the truth and obama got rid of him.I served Gen. Petraeus for 6 yrs, He is being told to fall on his sword for our Socialist President,,When is the truth about obama going to come out,, IMPEACH obama!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      Tin foil hat alert!

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

      'Another coverup, He wanted to tell the truth and obama got rid of him'

      cover up of what? how does this stop anything coming out? How, if obama got rid of him to stop from telling the truth, does this stop him from telling the truth? Is he going to go 'oh no, i have been fired, i guess that means i an no longer able to talk to anyone'?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      He's taking the fall for Obama ... by admitting to violating an ethics code of honor with his affair?

      Right! LMAO

      November 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. peter a few months we all gonna find out that he 's going to be candidate for the next
    republican election...preparation is everything.....

    November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. eric

    Maybe this is all made up as an excuse for him to step down, and the affair didn't actually happen. It's just a really good reason to give to the public.

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

      he could have just as easily say i will resign at the end of the year if that was the case. seems a bit extreme to claim an affair just to resign from a job.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom masri

      You make a lot of sense.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anna

    Shouldn't matter when it comes to his position-

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